Cuticle Formation

David W. Kramer dkramer at POSTBOX.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Mon Oct 9 12:54:00 EST 1995

 Piero Morandini writes:

>Dear Planted people,
>while preparing today's lecture I realised I have no idea about how can
>a cuticle be formed? It is mainly composed of highly hydrofobic
>molecules that must cross a hydrophylic environment before reaching
>their final destination.  I assume that macromolecular complexes will
>be assembled only after reaching that destination, but how is this
>Any reference comments or suggestion very welcome.
>Teaching commences in 3 hrs!!
>BTW, any idea whether there is a paperback edition of "Biology
>of Plants" by Raven, Evert  &Eichhorn (5th edition, 1992)?
>Thanks again.
>Piero Morandini
>Dept. of Biology "L. Gorini" - University of Milan
>via Celoria 26
>20133  Milan  -  ITALY
>Tel:    +39-2-2660-4394         email:  pm1 at
>Fax:    +39-2-2660-4399

You might begin by reading Esau, Katherine.  1965.  Plant Anatomy.  2nd Ed
(or later editions), pp. 155-157.  On page 156 there is a section which
speaks to your question: "The development of the initial cuticle is
interpreted as a flooding with a cutin precursor, or procutin (probably
unsaturated fatty acids, Frey-Wyssling and Muhlethaler, 1959), analogous to
a drying oil, and a subsequent hardening of this material through
polymerization under the influence of the air oxygen.  According to a study
of the cuticle of the apple fruit (Huelin, 1959), however, cutin formation
is conceived as a process controlled by enzyme action rather than by
spontaneous oxidation.  The hardening of the cuticle presumably terminates
further extrusion of wax and cutin precursor and, therefore, these
substances accumulate beneath the cuticle (Schiefferstein and Loomins,

I have asked a colleague for a more recent interpretation and I will
forward that to you if he doesn't contact you directly.

Dr. David W. Kramer
Assistant Professor of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list