Problems in Interpreting Effects of Air Pollutants on Spruce Epicuticular Waxes

  • Edith Bermadinger-Stabentheiner
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 36)

Abstract

Spruce needles are covered with rod-like crystals, which also fill the antechambers of the stomata with a dense meshwork. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a very useful for studying epicuticular wax structures; with no intricate or laborious preparation, it is possible to obtain valuable information about the needle surface. Because the epicuticular wax layer forms a barrier between the plant and its environment, all influences that reach the surface from outside impact on this layer and, therefore, changes in epicuticular wax structure serve as diagnostic criteria for damage caused by air pollutants. This pollution influence begins as fusion of wax rods at the tips and results finally in total loss of the crystalline structure.

Despite the simplicity of SEM investigations, alterations (artefacts) can occur to wax structures that may be confused with alterations caused by air pollutants (i. e., a too dense layer of twigs and needles, or careless handling with tweezers, results in mechanical damage that often influences the entire surface). Overheating occurring during transport or preparation and/or incorrect storage also produce artefacts.

If the occurrence of such artefacts is taken into consideration, several contradictory interpretations of effects of air pollutants on epicuticular waxes can be explained.

Keywords

Dioxide Dust Ozone Shrinkage Photosynthesis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bermadinger E, Grill D (1987) Pflanzenphysiologische Untersuchungen im Immissionsgebiet Breitenau. Mitt naturw. Ver Steiermark 117: 73–87Google Scholar
  2. Bermadinger E, Grill D, Golob P (1987) Einfluss von Magnesitstäuben auf Fichtennadel wachse. Phyton (Austria) 27: 15 - 29Google Scholar
  3. Bermadinger E, Grill D, Golob P (1988a) The different influence of magnesite emissions on the surface of Norway spruce and silver fir. Can J Bot 66: 125 - 129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bermadinger E, Grill D, Golob P (1988b) Influence of different air pollutants on the structure of needle wax of spruce (Picea abies ( L.) Karsten). Geo Journal 17: 289–293Google Scholar
  5. Bermadinger E, Guttenberger H, Grill D (1990) Physiology of Norway spruce. Environ Pollut 68: 319 - 330PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elstner EF, Osswald DW (1984) Fichtensterben in “Reinfluftgebieten”: Strukturresistenzverlust. Naturw Rundschau 37: 52–61Google Scholar
  7. Grill D (1973) Rasterelektronenmikroskopische Untersuchungen an S02-belasteten Fichtennadeln. Phytopath Z 78: 75–80Google Scholar
  8. Grill D, Pfeifhofer H, Halbwachs G, Wal tinger H (1987) Investigations on epicuticular waxes of differently damaged spruce needles. Eur J For Path 17: 246–255Google Scholar
  9. Grill D, Guttenberger H, Zellnig G, Bermadinger E (1989) Reactions of plant cells to air pollution. Phyton (Austria) 29: 277–290Google Scholar
  10. Grill D, Zellnig G, Bermadinger-Stabentheiner E, Müller M (1992) Strukturelle Veräerungen in Abhäigkeit verschiedener Luftschadstoffe. Forstw Cbl 112: 2–11Google Scholar
  11. Jeffree CE, Johnson RPC, Jarvis PG (1971) Epicuticular wax in the stomatal antechamber of Sitka spruce and its effects on the diffusion of water vapour and carbon dioxide. Planta (Berl.) 98: 1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Percy KE, Krause CR, Jensen KF (1990) Effects of ozone and acidic fog on red spruce needle epicuticular wax ultrastructure. Can J For Res 20: 117–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sauter JJ, Voss JU (1986) SEM-observations on the structural degradation of epistomatal waxes in Picea abies (L.)Karst. and its possible role in the “Fichtensterben”. Eur J For Path 16: 408–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Turunen M, Huttunen S (1990) A Review of the response of epicuticular wax of conifer needles to air pollution. J Environ Qual 19: 35–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. van Gardingen PR, Grace J, Jeffree CE (1991) Abrasive damage by wind to the needle surface of Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. and Pinus sylvestris L. Plant, Cell and Environment 14: 185–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edith Bermadinger-Stabentheiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant PhysiologyKarl-Franzens-University of GrazGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations