The biophysical design of plant cuticles: an overview

Authors

  • Eva Domínguez,

    1. Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea (IHSM) ‘La Mayora’, Centro Mixto CSIC-Universidad de Málaga, E-29760 Algarrobo-Costa, Málaga, Spain
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  • José Alejandro Heredia-Guerrero,

    1. Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Sevilla, Centro Mixto CSIC-Universidad de Sevilla, E-41092 Sevilla, Spain
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  • Antonio Heredia

    1. Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea (IHSM) ‘La Mayora’, Centro Mixto CSIC-Universidad de Málaga, E-29760 Algarrobo-Costa, Málaga, Spain
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Author for correspondence:
Antonio Heredia
Tel: +34 952131940
Email: heredia@uma.es

Summary

The outer surfaces of epidermal cell walls are impregnated with an extracellular matrix called the cuticle. This composite matrix provides several functions at the interface level that enable plants to thrive in different habitats and withstand adverse environmental conditions. The lipid polymer cutin, which is the main constituent of the plant cuticle, has some unique biophysical properties resulting from its composition and structure. This review summarizes the progress made towards understanding the biophysical significance of this biopolymer with special focus on its structural, thermal, biomechanical, and hydric properties and relationships. The physiological relevance of such biophysical properties is discussed in light of existing knowledge on the plant cuticle.

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