noun, plural: cutins
(botany) A waxy polymer of hydroxy acids in the cuticle of plants
(medicine) An animal membrane used as a covering over wound surface
In botany, cutin is a waxy polymer in the plant cuticle. The cuticle in plant is an outer protective layer over the epidermal layer, such as that of leaf blades. Cutin is mostly noticeable though on the surface of fruits, such as apple, cherry, and nectarine.
Cutin is one of the major components of the cuticle; the other waxy polymer in the plant cuticle is cutan. Both the cutin and the cutan serve as a protective coat against excessive water loss. They are water-repelling substance secreted by epidermal cells. Cutin, though, is polyester whereas cutan is a hydrocarbon polymer. Cutin is made up of omega hydroxyl acids and their derivatives. Together with suberin and lignin, cutin forms a protective barrier against water loss and pathogen attack.
Cutin on the fronds of the Brazilian palm tree, Copernicia cerifera is collected for use as Brazil wax or ceara wax, which is utilized as a hardening or gelling agent in certain products.
In medicine, cutin refers to the thin animal membrane that is used to cover wound surfaces.
Word origin: Latin cutis (“skin”)