Structural and ultrastructural study of Capsicum annuum leaves after treatment with Uncaria tomentosa bark extracts

Teresa Tykarska, Krzysztof Gulewicz, Alicja Zobel, Julita Augustynowicz, Katarzyna Żurowska, Mieczysław Kuraś


The influence of an Uncaria tomentosa extract on the development of Capsicum plants grown in green-house conditions was examined. The effect of the treatment was investigated with microscopic techniques (light and electron microscope) in leaves from three levels of control plants and plants after treatment with the extract added to the soil in doses of 0.4 and 16 mg/ml (200 ml per pot/plant). In control leaves, changes typical of the subsequent phases of normal development were observed: nuclear chromatin became slightly condensed, plastoglobuli of chloroplasts increased in number and size, intragranal thylakoids were somewhat dilatated. In addition to such commonly occurring changes, some symptoms typical of pepper were observed in the ontogenesis of the examined plant: an increased number of spherical electron-dense deposits in vacuoles, an increased number of peroxisomes, the occurrence of numerous paracrystalline structures in chloroplasts of mature leaves, and, starting in mature leaves, expulsion of plastoglobuli from chloroplasts.

After the treatment, most of those changes, leading to ageing, occurred much earlier and were more distinct. Chloroplasts, already in the youngest examined leaves, showed dilatation of intergranal thylakoids, which intensified with aging of the leaves and degradation of grana in the oldest leaves. Starch grains decreased in size and number and plastoglobuli became large. Vesiculation of ground cytoplasm in all leaves was stronger than in the control. No paracrystalline structures in chloroplasts or expulsion of plastoglobuli were observed. Another unusual phenomenon was the disappearance of spherical electron-dense deposits in the central vacuoles of cells.

Those observations suggested that U. tomentosa extract enhanced the natural ontogenesis of Capsicum annuum leaves, by accelerating and enhancing the typical characteristics of ageing, and, additionally, it changed the structure and physiology of cells.


Capsicum leaves; extract of Uncaria tomentosa; cytostatical action; ultrastructure

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