Dictionary > Elaioplast

Elaioplast

Definition
noun, plural: elaioplasts
(botany) A leucoplast that stores oil
Supplement
Plastids are organelles involved in the synthesis and storage of food. They are found within the cells of photosynthetic eukaryotes. In plants, plastids may develop into these forms: (1) chloroplasts, (2) chromoplasts, (3) gerontoplasts, and (4) leucoplasts. Leucoplasts are colourless plastids because they lack pigments. Their role is primarily for storage. Depending on the content of the leucoplasts, they may be amyloplasts, elaioplasts, proteinoplasts, or tannosomes.
An elaioplast is a leucoplast that is primarily involved in storing fats or lipids inside fat droplets (plastoglobuli) in plants (particularly in monocots and liverworts). Plastoglobuli are spherical bubbles containing lipids such as steryl esters. Nevertheless, plastoglobuli are not exclusive to elaioplast. They also occur in other plastids such as chloroplasts particularly when the latter are under oxidative stress or would undergo transformation into gerontoplast.
Elaioplasts are most intensively studied in tapetal cells where they play an essential role in pollen maturation. Tapetal cells have elaioplasts and tapetosomes (oil and protein bodies derived from the endoplasmic reticulum). Both the elaioplasts and tapetosomes contribute to the formation of pollen coat during the final stage of pollen maturation. The elaioplast, in particular, are released by the tapetal cell through lysis. The sterol lipids of the elaioplast coat the outside of the pollen grain. The tapetosomes, in turn, provide proteins to the pollen coat. Elaioplasts should not be confused with oleosomes, which are derived from rough endoplasmic reticulum and stores oil as well. The oleosomes are found primarily in seeds. They are probably used mainly for longer-term oil storage compared with the elaioplasts that are for shorter-term oil storage and synthesis.1
Word origin: Greek élaion (“olive oil”) + plastós (“formed”)
Synonym:

  • oleoplast

See also:

  • plastid
  • leucoplast
  • Reference(s):

    1 Wise, R. & Hoober, J. (2007). The Structure and function of plastids. Dordrecht: Springer. p.10


    You will also like...

    Carbohydrates, fats and proteins - dietary sources
    A Balanced Diet – Carbohydrates and Fat

    Apart from vitamins, the human body also requires high energy sources such as carbohydrates and fats. If you want an ove..

    Freshwater lake ecosystem
    Freshwater Producers and Consumers

    Freshwater ecosystem is comprised of four major constituents, namely elements and compounds, plants, consumers, and deco..

    Chemical composition of the body
    Chemical Composition of the Body

    The body is comprised of different elements with hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen as the major four. This tutorial..

    The process of photosynthesis
    Photosynthesis – Photolysis and Carbon Fixation

    Photosynthesis is the process that plants undertake to create organic materials from carbon dioxide and water, with the ..

    "Cronopio dentiacutus", a prehistoric mammal (an illustration)
    Mammalian Ancestors

    Mammals are a diverse group of organisms, where most of them develop their offspring within the uterus of the mother. Ov..

    Geological Periods
    Geological Periods

    Geological periods is a study guide that cites the different geological periods on Earth's timeline. Each has a brief ov..