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Variability in the Distribution of Middle Lamella Lignin in Secondary Vascular Tissues of Kenaf Stems

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Lignin in the middle lamella of the secondary xylem of angiosperms appears to be inhomogeneously distributed, based on studies where the focus is on a close examinantion of the middle lamella region of fibre cell walls by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). This is in contrast to the secondary xylem of gymnosperms which often display a more uniform distribution of lignin in the middle lamella of secondary xylem elements. The aim of our study was to undertake TEM examination of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), an angiosperm plant mainly cultivated for its high quality secondary phloem fibres, to investigate lignin distribution in the middle lamella of secondary vascular tissues, including secondary phloem fibres. The middle lamella displayed considerable heterogeneity in the distribution of lignin in all lignified secondary vascular tissues, including xylem and phloem fibres, vessels and axial xylem parenchyma cells. The results provided evidence of lignin inhomogeneity in the secondary phloem fibres as well as in other lignified elements of kenaf vascular tissues, extending previous observations which were confined only to fibre cells.


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