Applicability of the energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis for quantification of irregular calcium deposits on fruit and leaf cuticles

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In our studies, we evaluated the relation between CaCl2 concentration and the scanning electron microscope–energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis parameters, net intensity, peak/background and standardized percentage of atoms and percentage of weight after application of single microdroplets on enzymatically isolated tomato fruit cuticles and apple seedling leaves. After analysis, the Ca/Cl ratio was calculated and the area ultimately covered with Ca and Cl within the droplet spread area determined. According to our findings, all evaluated parameters were influenced by both droplet volume and calcium chloride concentration, whereas Pearson's analysis revealed a strong correlation between net intensity and area ultimately covered by Ca or Cl, respectively. Simple linear regressions for net intensity, peak/background and Ca/Cl ratio showed variable determination coefficients (R2) ranging between 0.49 and 0.79. Multiple regression equations comprising net intensity, Ca/Cl ratio and deposit area were established to estimate the amount of calcium present on the cuticles. Equation slopes depended on droplet volumes, with determination coefficients of 0.89 and 0.81 for 0.5 and 1.0-μL droplets, respectively. The importance of the physicochemical properties of the spray solution was exploited in another study where a hydrophobic or a hydrophilic adjuvant was added to a 10 g L−1 CaCl2 solution, which was applied to apple seedling leaves. The addition of adjuvants increased values of net intensity and peak/background, which correlated significantly with the area covered by calcium. The importance of the methodology for studies on the interaction between leaf applied fertilizers (also extended to agrochemicals) and the characteristics of target surfaces is discussed.

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