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Twinned Raphides of Calcium Oxalate in Grape (Vitis): Implications for Crystal Stability and Function

Howard J. Arnott and Mary Alice Webb
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Vol. 161, No. 1 (January 2000), pp. 133-142
DOI: 10.1086/314230
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/314230
Page Count: 10
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Twinned Raphides of Calcium Oxalate in Grape
(Vitis): Implications for Crystal Stability and
Function
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Abstract

Among the higher plants that accumulate crystalline calcium oxalate, many taxa characteristically produce raphides, or needle‐shaped crystals. Substantial evidence has accumulated indicating that raphides function in plant defenses against herbivory and that their acicular shape is a critical component in proposed mechanisms for these defenses. Previous observations have shown that raphides in members of the Vitaceae are twinned crystals. In this study, the fine structure of raphides in Vitis was examined in order to determine the nature of twinning. Rotation of isolated raphides under cross‐polarized light revealed extinction patterns that indicated that raphides are twinned along their length. In cross sections of raphides, the twin plane extends across the raphides, parallel to their surfaces. The dissolution patterns observed in etched crystals indicate that the type of twinning is rotational. Parallels in other biomineralization systems indicate that the rotational nature of the twinning may increase mechanical strength. In addition, because twinning may affect crystal growth or enhance stability and persistence of crystals, it could be an important factor in allowing plant cells to produce the raphide morphology.

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