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Cu2+ inhibition of gel secretion in the xylem and its potential implications for water uptake of cut Acacia holosericea stems

Authors

  • Kamani Ratnayake,

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    1. Department of Horticulture and Landscape Gardening, Faculty of Agriculture and Plantation Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura, Gonawila NWP, Sri Lanka
    • The University of Queensland, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Gatton, QLD, Australia
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  • Daryl C. Joyce,

    1. The University of Queensland, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Gatton, QLD, Australia
    2. Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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  • Richard I. Webb

    1. Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD, Australia
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Correspondence

Corresponding author

e-mail: kamani.ratnayake@uqconnect.edu.au

Abstract

Maintaining a high rate of water uptake is crucial for maximum longevity of cut stems. Physiological gel/tylosis formation decreases water transport efficiency in the xylem. The primary mechanism of action for post-harvest Cu2+ treatments in improving cut flower and foliage longevity has been elusive. The effect of Cu2+ on wound-induced xylem vessel occlusion was investigated for Acacia holosericea A. Cunn. ex G. Don. Experiments were conducted using a Cu2+ pulse (5 h, 2.2 mM) and a Cu2+ vase solution (0.5 mM) vs a deionized water (DIW) control. Development of xylem blockage in the stem-end region 10 mm proximal to the wounded stem surface was examined over 21 days by light and transmission electron microscopy. Xylem vessels of stems stood into DIW were occluded with gels secreted into vessel lumens via pits from surrounding axial parenchyma cells. Gel secretion was initiated within 1–2 days post-wounding and gels were detected in the xylem from day 3. In contrast, Cu2+ treatments disrupted the surrounding parenchyma cells, thereby inhibiting gel secretion and maintaining the vessel lumens devoid of occlusions. The Cu2+ treatments significantly improved water uptake by the cut stems as compared to the control.

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