Shelley A. James , William K. Smith and Thomas C. Vogelmann
Received for publication January 6, 1998. Accepted for publication June 16, 1998.
Mesophyll structure has been associated with the photosynthetic performance of leaves via the regulation of internal light and CO2 profiles. Differences in mesophyll structure and chlorophyll distribution within three ontogenetically different leaf types of Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus were investigated. Juvenile leaves are blue-grey in color, dorsiventral (adaxial palisade layer only), hypostomatous, and approximately horizontal in orientation. In contrast, adult leaves are dark green in color, isobilateral (adaxial and abaxial palisade), amphistomatous, and nearly vertical in orientation. The transitional leaf type has structural features that appear intermediate between the juvenile and adult leaves. The ratio of mesophyll cell surface area per unit leaf surface area (Ames/A) of juvenile leaves was maximum at the base of a single, adaxial palisade layer and declined through the spongy mesophyll. Chlorophyll a + b content showed a coincident pattern, while the chlorophyll a:b ratio declined linearly from the adaxial to abaxial epidermis. In comparison, the mesophyll of adult leaves had a bimodal distribution of Ames/A, with maxima occurring beneath both the adaxial and abaxial surfaces within the first layer of multiple palisade layers. The distribution of chlorophyll a + b content had a similar pattern, although the maximum ratio of chlorophyll a:b occurred immediately beneath the adaxial and abaxial epidermis. The matching distributions of Ames/A and chlorophyll provide further evidence that mesophyll structure may act to influence photosynthetic performance. These changes in internal leaf structure at different life stages of E. globulus may be an adaptation for increased xeromorphy under increasing light exposure experienced from the seedling to adult tree, similar to the characteristics reported for different species according to sunlight exposure and water availability within their native habitats.
Key Words: Ames/A • chlorophyll • Eucalyptus • leaf structure • light • Myrtaceae • palisade mesophyll • Vmes/V
Source: American Journal of Botany. 1999;86:198-207.