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1.  Elevated CO2 and/or ozone modify lignification in the wood of poplars (Populus tremula x alba) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(11):4291-4301.
Trees will have to cope with increasing levels of CO2 and ozone in the atmosphere. The purpose of this work was to assess whether the lignification process could be altered in the wood of poplars under elevated CO2 and/or ozone. Young poplars were exposed either to charcoal-filtered air (control), to elevated CO2 (800 μl l−1), to ozone (200 nl l−1) or to a combination of elevated CO2 and ozone in controlled chambers. Lignification was analysed at different levels: biosynthesis pathway activities (enzyme and transcript), lignin content, and capacity to incorporate new assimilates by using 13C labelling. Elevated CO2 and ozone had opposite effects on many parameters (growth, biomass, cambial activity, wood cell wall thickness) except on lignin content which was increased by elevated CO2 and/or ozone. However, this increased lignification was due to different response mechanisms. Under elevated CO2, carbon supply to the stem and effective lignin synthesis were enhanced, leading to increased lignin content, although there was a reduction in the level of some enzyme and transcript involved in the lignin pathway. Ozone treatment induced a reduction in carbon supply and effective lignin synthesis as well as transcripts from all steps of the lignin pathway and some corresponding enzyme activities. However, lignin content was increased under ozone probably due to variations in other major components of the cell wall. Both mechanisms seemed to coexist under combined treatment and resulted in a high increase in lignin content.
PMCID: PMC3398455  PMID: 22553285
13C labelling; elevated CO2; lignin; ozone; poplar; wood
2.  Cellulose and lignin biosynthesis is altered by ozone in wood of hybrid poplar (Populus tremula×alba) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(10):3575-3586.
Wood formation in trees is a dynamic process that is strongly affected by environmental factors. However, the impact of ozone on wood is poorly documented. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of ozone on wood formation by focusing on the two major wood components, cellulose and lignin, and analysing any anatomical modifications. Young hybrid poplars (Populus tremula×alba) were cultivated under different ozone concentrations (50, 100, 200, and 300 nl l−1). As upright poplars usually develop tension wood in a non-set pattern, the trees were bent in order to induce tension wood formation on the upper side of the stem and normal or opposite wood on the lower side. Biosynthesis of cellulose and lignin (enzymes and RNA levels), together with cambial growth, decreased in response to ozone exposure. The cellulose to lignin ratio was reduced, suggesting that cellulose biosynthesis was more affected than that of lignin. Tension wood was generally more altered than opposite wood, especially at the anatomical level. Tension wood may be more susceptible to reduced carbon allocation to the stems under ozone exposure. These results suggested a coordinated regulation of cellulose and lignin deposition to sustain mechanical strength under ozone. The modifications of the cellulose to lignin ratio and wood anatomy could allow the tree to maintain radial growth while minimizing carbon cost.
PMCID: PMC3130179  PMID: 21357770
Cellulose; lignin; ozone; poplar; tension wood
3.  Stiffness gradients in vascular bundles of the palm Washingtonia robusta 
Palms can grow at sites exposed to high winds experiencing large dynamic wind and gust loads. Their stems represent a system of stiff fibrous elements embedded in the soft parenchymatous tissue. The proper design of the interface of the stiffening elements and the parenchyma is crucial for the functioning of the stem. The strategy of the palm to compromise between stiff fibre caps and the soft parenchymatous tissue may serve as a model system for avoiding stress discontinuities in inhomogeneous and anisotropic fibre-reinforced composite materials. We investigated the mechanical, structural and biochemical properties of the fibre caps of the palm Washingtonia robusta at different levels of hierarchy with high spatial resolution. A gradual decrease in stiffness across the fibre cap towards the surrounding parenchymatous tissue was observed. Structural adaptations at the tissue level were found in terms of changes in cell cross sections and cell wall thickness. At the cell wall level, gradients across the fibre cap were found in the degree of orientation of the microfibrils and in the lignin level and composition. The impact of these structural variations in the local material stiffness distribution is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2603245  PMID: 18595839
palms; gradients; micromechanics; tensile stiffness; cell wall; lignin composition

Results 1-3 (3)