Modification of leaf cytology and anatomy in Brassica napus grown under above ambient levels of supplemental UV-B radiation
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Plants exposed to natural solar radiation usually show acclimation responses on a daily and seasonal basis. Many of these responses are complex and modified by interactions with acclimation responses to other climatic factors. While changes in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm) are the driving force for many acclimation responses in plants, radiation outside the PAR range is also important. Recently, interest has increased in the potential role of UV-A (320–400 nm) and UV-B (280–320 nm) components of sunlight in plant developmental, physiological and daily acclimation processes. In order to explore the role of UV-B further, Brassica napus L. cv Paroll plants were grown to maturity under 13 kJ d-1 of biologically effective ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-BBE, 280–320 nm) plus 800 lmol photons m-2 s-1 photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm) or PAR alone. Leaf anatomy and palisade cell structure were quantified using stereological techniques. The leaves of plants grown under UV-B radiation exhibited an increase in overall leaf width, although no change in leaf anatomy was discerned. Palisade cells in UV-B exposed leaves showed a significant decrease in chloroplast, mitochondrial, starch, and microbody volume density (Vv), while the vacuolar Vv increased compared to cells exposed to PAR only. In UV-B exposed leaves, there was an increase in the appressed and non-appressed thylakoid surface area density (Sv) within the chloroplasts. Since the relative proportion of appressed to non-appressed thylakoid surface area did not change, both thylakoid systems changed in concert with each other. Thylakoid stacks were broader and shorter in leaves subjected to UV-B. In general these responses were similar to those which occurred in plants moved from a high to low PAR environment and similar to mature plants exposed to 13 kJ d-1 UV-BBE for only a short period of time. Although UV absorbing pigments increased by 21% in UV-B exposed leaves, there was no significant difference in chlorophyll a,b or carotenoid content compared to plants exposed to only PAR.
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