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author:("Petit, gii")
1.  Osmolality and Non-Structural Carbohydrate Composition in the Secondary Phloem of Trees across a Latitudinal Gradient in Europe 
Phloem osmolality and its components are involved in basic cell metabolism, cell growth, and in various physiological processes including the ability of living cells to withstand drought and frost. Osmolality and sugar composition responses to environmental stresses have been extensively studied for leaves, but less for the secondary phloem of plant stems and branches. Leaf osmotic concentration and the share of pinitol and raffinose among soluble sugars increase with increasing drought or cold stress, and osmotic concentration is adjusted with osmoregulation. We hypothesize that similar responses occur in the secondary phloem of branches. We collected living bark samples from branches of adult Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies, Betula pendula and Populus tremula trees across Europe, from boreal Northern Finland to Mediterranean Portugal. In all studied species, the observed variation in phloem osmolality was mainly driven by variation in phloem water content, while tissue solute content was rather constant across regions. Osmoregulation, in which osmolality is controlled by variable tissue solute content, was stronger for Betula and Populus in comparison to the evergreen conifers. Osmolality was lowest in mid-latitude region, and from there increased by 37% toward northern Europe and 38% toward southern Europe due to low phloem water content in these regions. The ratio of raffinose to all soluble sugars was negligible at mid-latitudes and increased toward north and south, reflecting its role in cold and drought tolerance. For pinitol, another sugar known for contributing to stress tolerance, no such latitudinal pattern was observed. The proportion of sucrose was remarkably low and that of hexoses (i.e., glucose and fructose) high at mid-latitudes. The ratio of starch to all non-structural carbohydrates increased toward the northern latitudes in agreement with the build-up of osmotically inactive C reservoir that can be converted into soluble sugars during winter acclimation in these cold regions. Present results for the secondary phloem of trees suggest that adjustment with tissue water content plays an important role in osmolality dynamics. Furthermore, trees acclimated to dry and cold climate showed high phloem osmolality and raffinose proportion.
PMCID: PMC4887491  PMID: 27313582
hexose; osmotic concentration; phloem water content; pinitol; raffinose; sucrose; starch
2.  Allometric Trajectories and “Stress”: A Quantitative Approach 
The term “stress” is an important but vague term in plant biology. We show situations in which thinking in terms of “stress” is profitably replaced by quantifying distance from functionally optimal scaling relationships between plant parts. These relationships include, for example, the often-cited one between leaf area and sapwood area, which presumably reflects mutual dependence between sources and sink tissues and which scales positively within individuals and across species. These relationships seem to be so basic to plant functioning that they are favored by selection across nearly all plant lineages. Within a species or population, individuals that are far from the common scaling patterns are thus expected to perform negatively. For instance, “too little” leaf area (e.g., due to herbivory or disease) per unit of active stem mass would be expected to incur to low carbon income per respiratory cost and thus lead to lower growth. We present a framework that allows quantitative study of phenomena traditionally assigned to “stress,” without need for recourse to this term. Our approach contrasts with traditional approaches for studying “stress,” e.g., revealing that small “stressed” plants likely are in fact well suited to local conditions. We thus offer a quantitative perspective to the study of phenomena often referred to under such terms as “stress,” plasticity, adaptation, and acclimation.
PMCID: PMC5101416  PMID: 27881990
fitness; scaling; morphospace; operationalization; plasticity
3.  Widening of xylem conduits in a conifer tree depends on the longer time of cell expansion downwards along the stem 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;63(2):837-845.
The diameter of vascular conduits increases towards the stem base. It has been suggested that this profile is an efficient anatomical feature for reducing the hydraulic resistance when trees grow taller. However, the mechanism that controls the cell diameter along the plant is not fully understood. The timing of cell differentiation along the stem was investigated. Cambial activity and cell differentiation were investigated in a Picea abies tree (11.5 m in height) collecting microsamples at nine different heights (from 1 to 9 m) along the stem with a 4 d time interval. Wood sections (8–12 μm thick) were stained and observed under a light microscope with polarized light to differentiate the developing xylem cells. Cell wall lignification was detected using cresyl violet acetate. The first enlarging cells appeared almost simultaneously along the tree axis indicating that cambium activation is not height-dependent. A significant increase in the duration of the cell expansion phase was observed towards the tree base: at 9 m from the ground, xylem cells expanded for 7 d, at 6 m for 14 d, and at 3 m for 19 d. The duration of the expansion phase is positively correlated with the lumen area of the tracheids (r2=0.68, P < 0.01) at the same height. By contrast, thickness of the cell wall of the earlywood did not show any trend with height. The lumen area of the conduits down the stem appeared linearly dependent on time during which differentiating cells remained in the expansion phase. However, the inductive signal of such long-distance patterned differentiation remains to be identified.
PMCID: PMC3254684  PMID: 22016427
Auxin; cambium; cell differentiation; conduit tapering; Picea abies polar pattern growth

Results 1-3 (3)