Project Topic / Abstract:
“Anatomical and Chemical Characteristics of Mucilage Production in Brasenia (Cabombaceae, Nymphaeales)”
Brasenia schreberi, commonly known as the water shield, is a water lily that belongs to the family Cabombaceae in the order Nymphaeales. Brasenia is of significant evolutionary interest because water lilies are considered to be among the most primitive flowering plants. Brasenia is also interesting because it produces an abundant gelatinous mucilage that covers many underwater organs. This research is the first investigation to integrate anatomical and chemical analyses of mucilage production in Brasenia. Fresh samples of Brasenia were studied using combined light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The mucilage is produced by numerous epidermal hairs, or trichomes, that cover the surfaces of young stems, floral buds, petioles, and the undersides of leaves. Each secretory trichome is elongate and multicellular. Mucilage secretion does not occur within the internal body of the plant. The chemical composition of mucilage appears to be primarily composed of polysaccharides.
- Truman Student Research Conference (Kirksville, MO) View Abstract