research.gif (2985 bytes) Dr. Gary Coté, Professor of Biology

Development of Crystal Idioblasts

All Dieffenbachia leaves we've looked at have had crystal idioblasts, even the youngest.  When do they develop? At right you can see a cross-section of a leaf bud just beginning to open; it contains some crystals.  Studying leaf buds by the methods we normally use, however, is difficult, as they tend to come apart during processing.  To get around this we are working on clearing stem pieces containing the buds (which hide inside the stems until it's time to start unfolding), and then embedding the stem piece in wax.  We will then be able to prepare thin sections of the pieces and look at what kinds of crystals are present in even very young leaf buds.  Currently Brad Howard is making the first attempts to embed processed stems.

Another approach would be to isolate idioblasts from leaf buds dissected out of the stems.  Randy Sharp tried this in the fall of 2005, with interesting results we have not fully analyzed yet.


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