Research in the field of xylem biology is aimed at the assessment of vascular traits in woody plants through quantification of vessel lumen areas and vessel densities as indicators of vascular strategies in plant stems (secondary xylem) and leaf midribs (primary xylem).
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Special emphasis is given to the assessment of cell wall nanomechanical properties of vessels/tracheary elements or fibers. The measurements are accomplished with the atomic force microscopy special mode PeakForce QNM aimed at the nanomechanical mapping of xylem cell wall properties such as modulus of elasticity, adhesion, deformation and dissipation, which are derived from force curves. The above research is supplemented with data on chemical composition of the cell wall with special emphasis on lignin monomer composition quantified by syringyl to guaiacyl ratio, as well as macromolecular traits of lignin and cellulose such as molecular weight, polydispersity and degree of polymerization of cellulose, respectively. All these measurements are applied for various research purposes dealing for example with natural and artificial hybrids, pure species, trees infected by Dutch elm disease, or trees micropropagated under in vitro conditions.
ĎURKOVIČ, J., KAČÍK, F., OLČÁK, D., KUČEROVÁ, V., KRAJŇÁKOVÁ, J. 2014: Host responses and metabolic profiles of wood components in Dutch elm hybrids with a contrasting tolerance to Dutch elm disease. Annals of Botany 114: 47-59.
ĎURKOVIČ, J., ČAŇOVÁ, I., KARDOŠOVÁ, M., KURJAK, D. 2014: Seasonal patterns of leaf photosynthetic and secondary xylem vascular traits in current-year stems of three Sorbus species with contrasting growth habits. Plant Biology 16: 908-916.
ĎURKOVIČ, J., KAČÍK, F., MAMOŇOVÁ, M., KARDOŠOVÁ, M., LONGAUER, R., KRAJŇÁKOVÁ, J. 2015: The effects of propagation techniques on cell wall chemistry and wood anatomy in micropropagated and grafted plants of the Dutch elm hybrid ‘Dodoens’. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 140: 3-11.