Structural and physiological characterization during wheat pericarp development.

Plant cell reports

PubMedID: 23615695

Xiong F, Yu XR, Zhou L, Wang F, Xiong AS. Structural and physiological characterization during wheat pericarp development. Plant Cell Rep. 2013;32(8):1309-20.
The cytological and physiological features of developing wheat pericarp were clearly characterized in this report. Our results may be helpful to articulate the functions of pericarp during the seed development. Although wheat pericarp has been well studied, knowledge of the sequence of events in the process of pericarp development is incomplete. In the present study, the structural development process of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) pericarp was investigated in detail using resin microtomy and microscopy. Chlorophyll contents, and photosynthetic and respiratory rates, in pericarp were determined using spectrophotometer and an oxygen electrode, respectively. Mineral nutrient contents were also determined using scanning electron microscopy. The main results are as follows: (1) based on the structures and physiological characteristics observed, the developmental process of pericarp was divided into four stages, growth, formation, extinction and maturation stages, pericarp exhibited specific features at each stage. (2) Pericarp development differed in different parts, or varieties, of wheat. The dorsal pericarp had fewer starch grains and slower rates of apoptosis than the abdominal mesocarp. The cross cells in dorsal pericarp had an irregular outline. When compared with soft wheat cv. Yangmai 11, mesocarp cells in hard wheat cv. Xumai 30 had more starch grains, larger cell size and longer development duration. (3) The chlorophyll content, photosynthesis rate and respiratory rate in pericarp increased gradually, reaching a maximum about 16 days after anthesis, and later decreased continually. The photosynthetic rate in pericarp was lower than the respiration rate. (4) The contents of mineral elements in pericarp, such as calcium, zinc, iron and potassium were higher than those in the inner endosperm. The data indicate that wheat pericarp has many functions, e.g. protection, photosynthesis, mineral accumulation, synthesis and degradation of starch.