Beitr. Tabakforsch. Int., 1989, 14-5, p. 297-312., ISSN.0173-783X

Changes in the cellular concentrations of elements in tobacco leaf tissues during growth and senescence

Philip Morris USA, Research Center, Richmond, VA, USA
Quantitative X-ray microanalysis for nine elements has been carried out on frozen, fully hydrated fracture faces of upper and lower epidermis, palisade and spongy mesophyll cells in leaf tissue of Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Coker 319 taken from plants at five different stages of growth. Although concentrations of aluminium, silicon and chlorine generally fell below the minimum-detection limit, the values for sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, potassium and calcium were consistently higher and showed differences among tissue types and stages of growth. The general trend was for elemental concentrations to increase up to the mature and ripe stages of growth and then to decrease as the leaf ages further. The sodium values were highest at the beginning and end of the five stages of growth, with higher amounts in the epidermal tissues. As the leaves age, the levels of magnesium fell in the photosynthetic tissues but increased in the epidermal tissues. Such changes could be correlated with higher concentrations of potassium at the early stages of growth and with much lower values at the late stages. The sulphur levels showed only small differences between tissue types at all stages of growth. The calcium levels increased with age and there were consistently higher concentrations in the photosynthetic tissues than in the two epidermal layers. The levels of phosphorus were low in all tissue types and decreased with age. There is an increasing positive correlation between phosphorus and magnesium and a decreasing positive correlation between phosphorus and potassium during growth and senescence.