Nanoscale Structural Organization of Plant Epicuticular Wax Probed by Atomic Force Microscope Infrared Spectroscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cuticle covers external surfaces of plants, protecting them from biotic and abiotic stress factors. Epicuticular wax on the outer surface of the cuticle modifies reflectance and water loss from plant surfaces and has direct and indirect effects on photosynthesis. Variation in epicuticular wax accumulation, composition, and nanoscale structural organization impacts its biological function. Atomic force microscope infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) was utilized to investigate the internal and external surfaces of the cuticle of Sorghum bicolor, an important drought-tolerant cereal, forage, and high-biomass crop. AFM-IR revealed striking heterogeneity in chemical composition within and between the surfaces of the cuticle. The wax aggregate crystallinity and distribution of chemical functional groups across the surfaces was also probed and compared. These results, along with the noninvasive nondestructive nature of the method, suggest that AFM-IR can be used to investigate mechanisms of wax deposition and transport of charged molecules through the plant cuticle.

published proceedings

  • Anal Chem

altmetric score

  • 1.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Farber, C., Wang, R., Chemelewski, R., Mullet, J., & Kurouski, D.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Farber, Charles||Wang, Rui||Chemelewski, Robert||Mullet, John||Kurouski, Dmitry

publication date

  • February 2019