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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Epicuticular Wax Structure in Plants in Relation to Atmospheric Pollution

item Krause, Charles

Submitted to: International Conference on Plants and Environmental Pollution
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 26, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The first plant structure to be usually affected by environmental insult is epicuticular wax. Cuticular surface properties depend on the layer of crystalline or amorphic epicuticular wax. Whether man-made or natural, toxic deposition that impinges on cuticular surfaces can significantly affect plant health. Diagnostic evidence exists as morphological clues or chemical trace quantities of chemical residues left by gaseous, particulate or aqueous deposition. Gaseous pollutants (SO2, O3, PAN, etc.), road deicing salt (NaCl), industrial particulate pollution, acid precipitation, and pesticides, can directly and indirectly alter epicuticular wax properties. Direct analysis of plant surface injury induced by atmospheric pollution is facilitated by electron beam analysis (EBA), a combination of scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis and digital beam control. Exogenous agents or the developmental effects of such agents are then characterized by their form, shape and chemistry in a nondestructive mode using EBA. While the overall impact of the above phytotoxic agents isn't fully understood, epicuticular wax modification could contribute to decline diseases that continue to be associated with perennial plants worldwide.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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