Infographic: A Plant Cell’s Cuticle Helps Regulate Toxic Chemical Accumulation
Infographic: A Plant Cell’s Cuticle Helps Regulate Toxic Chemical Accumulation

Infographic: A Plant Cell’s Cuticle Helps Regulate Toxic Chemical Accumulation

Researchers found that thinning petunia cells’ cuticles caused them to slow production of volatile organic compounds.

Yeager_headshot
Ashley Yeager

Ashley started at The Scientist in 2018. Before joining the staff, she worked as a freelance editor and writer, a writer at the Simons Foundation, and a web producer at...

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Feb 1, 2021

ABOVE: © MELANIE LEE

Scented flowers owe their smells to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but a too-high concentration of VOCs in the cytoplasm can damage cells. Normally, VOCs accumulate in an outer layer known as the cuticle, with a few in the cytoplasm (left cell). To examine the cuticle’s role in VOC emission, researchers thinned the cuticles of petunia cells, and found that initially, VOCs backed up within the cell membrane and cuticle, causing damage (middle cell). But hours later, the plants sensed the cell damage and reduced the production of VOCs, leading to lower concentrations in both the cell and the cuticle compared to plants with unaltered cuticles and avoiding further damage (right cell).

© MELANIE LEE

Read the full story.