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Heredia-Guerrero J.A.,University of Seville | San-Miguel M.A.,University of Seville | Luna M.,Institute Microelectronica Of Madrid Imm Csic | Dominguez E.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | And 2 more authors.
Soft Matter | Year: 2011

Soft and spherical nanoparticles, named as cutinsomes, have been prepared from concentrated 9(10),16-dihydroxypalmitic acid (diHPA) in aqueous solution. After isolation, cutinsomes have been chemically and structurally characterized by ATR-FTIR, TEM and dynamic atomic force microscopy (dynamic AFM). The nanoparticle can be described as a lipidic, liquid-like and mostly esterified core surrounded by a polar shell of carboxylate/carboxylic acid molecules. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations have been used to support this model. The structural stability of soft cutinsomes has been tested by deposition on both non-polar (HOPG) and polar (mica) flat substrates. It has been found that the magnitude of the interaction between the polar shell of cutinsomes and the support determines their structure conservation or its spreading or rupture and spill out of the liquid-like content. The structural consistence of these nanoparticles as a function of the polarity of substrate is of interest in elucidating the formation mechanism of cutin, the most abundant biopolyester in nature and a very interesting biomaterial to be mimetized. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

Dominguez E.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Cuartero J.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Heredia A.,University of Malaga
Plant Science | Year: 2011

Plant biomechanics combines the principles of physics, chemistry and engineering to answer questions about plant growth, development and interaction with the environment. The epidermal-growth-control theory, postulated in 1867 and verified in 2007, states that epidermal cells determine the rate of organ elongation since they are under tension, while inner tissues are under compression. The lipid cuticle layer is deposited on the surface of outer epidermal cell walls and modifies the chemical and mechanical nature of these cell walls. Thus, the plant cuticle plays a key role in plant interaction with the environment and in controlling organ expansion. Rheological analyses indicate that the cuticle is a mostly viscoelastic and strain-hardening material that stiffens the comparatively more elastic epidermal cell walls. Cuticle stiffness can be attributed to polysaccharides and flavonoids present in the cuticle whereas a cutin matrix is mainly responsible for its extensibility. Environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity have a plasticizing effect on the mechanical properties of cuticle since they lower cuticle stiffness and strength. The external appearance of agricultural commodities, especially fruits, is of great economic value. Mechanical properties of the cuticle can have a positive or negative effect on disorders like fruit cracking, fungal pathogen penetration and pest infestation. Cuticle rheology has significant variability within a species and thus can be subjected to selection in order to breed cultivars resistant to pests, infestation and disorders. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Loopez-Ruiz F.J.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Perez-Garcia A.,University of Malaga | Fernandez-Ortuno D.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Romero D.,University of Malaga | And 4 more authors.
Pest Management Science | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Cucurbit powdery mildew elicited by Podosphaera fusca (Fr.) U Braun & N Shishkoff limits crop production in Spain. Disease control is largely dependent on fungicides such as sterol demethylation inhibitors (DMIs). Fungicide resistance is an increasing problem in this pathogen. To overcome such risk, it is necessary to design rational control programmes based upon knowledge of field resistance. The aim of this study was to investigate the state of DMI sensitivity of Spanish P. fusca populations and provide tools for improved disease management. RESULTS: Using a leaf-disc assay, sensitivity to fenarimol, myclobutanil and triadimenol of 50 isolates of P. fusca was analysed to determine discriminatory concentrations between sensitive and resistant isolates. As no clearly different groups of isolates could be identified, discriminatory concentrations were established on the basis of maximum fungicide field application rate, 100 mg L-1 for the three fungicides tested. Subsequently, a survey of DMI resistance was carried out in different provinces located in the south central area of Spain during the cucurbit growing seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Examination of a collection of 250 isolates revealed that 23% were resistant to fenarimol and 7% to triadimenol, the provinces of Almería, Badajoz and Murcia being the locations with the highest frequencies of resistance. By contrast, no resistance to myclobutanil was found. CONCLUSION: Results show that fenarimol and, to a lesser extent, triadimenol have become less efficient for controlling cucurbit powdery mildew in Spain. These are important observations that should lead to reconsideration of the current disease management programmes. © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry. Source

Lora J.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Hormaza J.I.,Estacion Experimental La Mayora CSIC | Herrero M.,CSIC - Aula Dei Experimental Station
Annals of Botany | Year: 2010

Background and Aims Recent studies of reproductive biology in ancient angiosperm lineages are beginning to shed light on the early evolution of flowering plants, but comparative studies are restricted by fragmented and meagre species representation in these angiosperm clades. In the present study, the progamic phase, from pollination to fertilization, is characterized in Annona cherimola, which is a member of the Annonaceae, the largest extant family among early-divergent angiosperms. Beside interest due to its phylogenetic position, this species is also an ancient crop with a clear niche for expansion in subtropical climates. Methods The kinetics of the reproductive process was established following controlled pollinations and sequential fixation. Gynoecium anatomy, pollen tube pathway, embryo sac and early post-fertilization events were characterized histochemically. Key Results A plesiomorphic gynoecium with a semi-open carpel shows a continuous secretory papillar surface along the carpel margins, which run from the stigma down to the obturator in the ovary. The pollen grains germinate in the stigma and compete in the stigma-style interface to reach the narrow secretory area that lines the margins of the semi-open stylar canal and is able to host just one to three pollen tubes. The embryo sac has eight nuclei and is well provisioned with large starch grains that are used during early cellular endosperm development. Conclusions A plesiomorphic simple gynoecium hosts a simple pollen-pistil interaction, based on a support-control system of pollen tube growth. Support is provided through basipetal secretory activity in the cells that line the pollen tube pathway. Spatial constraints, favouring pollen tube competition, are mediated by a dramatic reduction in the secretory surface available for pollen tube growth at the stigma-style interface. This extramural pollen tube competition contrasts with the intrastylar competition predominant in more recently derived lineages of angiosperms. Source

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