The entry of residues into plants via ectodesmata (ectocythodes)

  • Wolfgang Franke
Part of the Residue Reviews book series (RECT, volume 38)


Foliar absorption is not only of theoretical interest but especially of practical importance. Fifty years back hardly anyone knew anything about the possibility of communication between cells of leaves and the environment by which an exchange of substances both from the outside into the cells and out of them onto the surface of leaves can take place. The cuticle was believed to be a tight covering determined to preserve the living cells of the leaves from some outside influences and to diminish loss of water by transpiration. Today a lot of dissolved substances such as pesticides, growth regulators, and fertilizers are sprayed or dusted on to the surfaces of leaves to act on plant enemies as contact or systemic poisons, or to promote or inhibit growth or abscission. The effects of these applications become visible and measurable. These facts show that the cuticle cannot be the impenetrable covering it was formerly considered. However, apart from a few statements no pores have been detected within the cuticle through which a solution could penetrate the cuticle and the wall in order to be absorbed by the underlying epidermal protoplasts. Therefore, it was thought that the only openings of the epidermal tissue, the stomatal pores, should be the portals of entrance for such solutions. Without mentioning that these pores are normally filled with air, not allowing the entry of aqueous solutions, many leaves do not at all possess guard cells in the upper adaxial epidermis but, nevertheless, do absorb substances through the surface. Shortly after the detection of ectodesmata the concept was born that these seemingly plasmodesmalike structures in the outer epidermal walls could be the pathways of foliar penetration. Following this idea many observations gave evidence that these structures may participate in the process of foliar absorption and also that of foliar excretion.


Guard Cell Outer Wall Ascorbic Acid Content Allium Cepa Anticlinal Wall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Franke
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Landwirtschaftliche BotanikUniversität BonnWest Germany

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