Dictionary > Elaiosome

Elaiosome

Definition
noun, plural: elaiosomes
A plant organelle that stores fat
Supplement
Elaiosome is an organelle that stores fat and is therefore rich in oil. It is a fleshy structure abundant in lipids and proteins. It occurs in seed tissues (e.g. chalaza, funiculus, hilum, raphe-antiraphe) or fruit tissues (e.g. exocarp, receptacle, flower tube, perigonium, style, spicule).1 It may vary in shape. In certain plants, elaiosomes in seeds act as dispersal agents. For instance, seeds with elaiosomes attract ants and therefore are taken into the ants’ nest wherein the elaiosome are fed to the larvae while the seed is discarded where it ultimately germinates under favorable conditions. Caruncle, the protuberance at or surrounding the hilum of a seed of spurge (i.e. plants belonging to genus Euphorbia), contains elaiosome. Seeds that have a caruncle are referred to as carunculate whereas those that do not have a caruncle are called ecarunculate.
Elaisome should not be confused with elaioplast. Although the elaioplast is also a reservoir of fat it is particularly a plastid and is capable of producing oil.
Word origin: Greek elaion (oil) + some
Synonym(s):

  • oleosome
  • spherosome

See also:

  • oil
  • seed
  • Reference(s):

    1 Gorb, E. & Gorb, S. (2003). Seed Dispersal by Ants in a Deciduous Ecosystem. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.


    You will also like...

    New Zealand Flora & Fauna
    Ecology & Biodiversity: New Zealand Flora & Fauna

    New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity, caused by its remarkable geography and geologic history. Breaking away..

    An artist depiction of a Precambrian multicellular life form.
    The Evolution of Cell Organelles

    The nucleus containing the genetic material, DNA, and the mitochondria, well-identified as the "powerhouse of the cell",..

    Electromagnetic spectrum of a brain
    Sleep and Dreams – Neurology

    While learning and intelligence are associated with the functions of a conscious mind, sleep and dreams are activities o..

    Adaptation Tutorial
    Adaptation Tutorial

    Adaptation, in biology and ecology, refers to the process or trait through which organisms or the populations in a habit..

    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems
    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems

    There are many environmental factors that arise due to the usage of water in one way or another and for every action tha..

    bryophyte - sporophyte and gametophyte
    Meiosis and Alternation of Generations

    Plants are characterized by having alternation of generations in their life cycles. This tutorial is a review of plant m..