African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6862

Full Length Research Paper

Microstructural differences in Agave atrovirens Karw leaves and pine by age effect

  Aurea Bernardino-Nicanor1, Rosalva Mora-Escobedo2, José Luis Montañez-Soto3, Santiago Filardo-Kerstupp4 and Leopoldo González-Cruz1*
  1Department of Biochemical Engineering, Technological Institute of Celaya, Av. Tecnológico s/n, C. P. 38010, Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. 2Department of Food Science, National School of Biological Sciences, National Polytechnic Institute, Prolongación de Carpio y Plan de Ayala s/n. Col. Santo Tomas, C. P. 1130 México City, México. 3Interdisciplinary Center of Investigation for Integrated Regional Development (CIIDIR-Michoacan), Mexico. 4Chemical Research Center, Hidalgo State University, Pachuca-Tulancingo Road km 4.5, Pachuca, Mexico
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 September 2011
  •  Published: 26 June 2012



We evaluated the effects of the leaves, “pine” or “head” (plants without leaves) age of Agave atrovirens on the epidermal, parenchyma and fibrillar microstructure as possible maturity indicators, since plant age is a determinant factor of the concentration of inulin. Samples were taken from three, six and nine year-old plants, and observations were made with scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) and light microscopy (LM). The results showed that the isolated cuticular membrane (ICM) microstructure in the agave plant changes considerably with the age, becoming harder and allowing the mature plant to avoid excessive water loss, on the other hand, the increased size of the suprastomal cavity makes the respiration process more efficient in older plants. The agaves present the three main types of calcium oxalate crystals reported for monocotyledons (druses, raphides and styloids). The plant age is an important factor in the identification of calcium oxalate crystals because it is only in six year-old plant that all three types were identified. However, the druses are present only in the cuticular membrane (CM), while the styloids and raphides are distributed on the parenchyma and chlorenchyma. The fibrillar structures in agave are modified with age such thatagave can support severe hydric stress and the storage of soluble carbohydrates.


Key words: Crystals, calcium oxalate, fibrillar, druses, raphides, styloids.