Comparison of light and fluorescence microscopy for xylem analysis in tomato pedicels during fruit development

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The xylem hydraulic connection between shoot and fruits has previously been investigated, but contradictory conclusions were drawn about the presence of a flow resistance barrier in the pedicel. In this paper we were studying effect of the drought on the functional xylem vessels in the pedicels of tomato fruit. Commercial tomato genotype was grown in cabinet conditions under two watering regimes (full and deficit irrigation). An aqueous solution of eosin Y were used to visualize the path of water movement through tomato fruit pedicel and fluorescence microscopy observations were done on transversal and longitudinal sections. Dye uptake studies suggested that in well watered plants and in plants exposed to drought, a large majority of xylem vessels are not functional in water transport. Reduced-irrigation treatment significantly altered number and width of functional xylem elements in the fruit pedicel, especially in the abscission zone. This indicates that drought modifies xylem architecture and, thus, environmentally produced change in the hydraulic property of pedicel may affect fruit development.

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