Formation of Phenolic Compounds in Apogeotropic Roots of Cycad Plants

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Formation and location of phenolic compounds in apogeotropic roots (coralloid roots) were studied in six cycad species, which belong to the genera Cycas, Encephalartos, and Ceratozamia. Total contents of soluble phenolic compounds in coralloid roots in all species studied varied insignificantly, with except for Ceratozamia mexicana that accumulated three times higher amounts of phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds were accumulated in cell walls of cortical parenchyma of coralloid roots, in intercellular spaces, and in specialized storage cells, found in all zones of apogeotropic roots. The greatest number of phenol-storing cells was situated in the cortical parenchyma of the central part of coralloid roots, adjacent to a zone where active symbiotic cyanobacteria were localized, and in the coralloid root basal region lacking viable forms of cyanobionts. It was suggested that phenolic compounds affect the formation of symbiosis between cyanobacteria and apogeotropic roots of cycad plants, as well as their metabolism.

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