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Title: A novel method of measuring leaf epidermis and mesophyll stiffness shows the ubiquitous nature of the sandwich structure of leaf laminas in broad-leaved angiosperm species
Authors: Onoda, Yusuke  kyouindb  KAKEN_id  orcid (unconfirmed)
Schieving, Feike
Anten, Niels P.R.
Author's alias: 小野田, 雄介
Keywords: Biodiversity
leaf anatomy
mechanical design
sandwich structure
turgor pressure
Issue Date: 11-Feb-2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Journal title: Journal of Experimental Botany
Volume: 66
Issue: 9
Start page: 2487
End page: 2499
Abstract: Plant leaves commonly exhibit a thin, flat structure that facilitates a high light interception per unit mass, but may increase risks of mechanical failure when subjected to gravity, wind and herbivory as well as other stresses. Leaf laminas are composed of thin epidermis layers and thicker intervening mesophyll layers, which resemble a composite material, i.e. sandwich structure, used in engineering constructions (e.g. airplane wings) where high bending stiffness with minimum weight is important. Yet, to what extent leaf laminas are mechanically designed and behave as a sandwich structure remains unclear. To resolve this issue, we developed and applied a novel method to estimate stiffness of epidermis- and mesophyll layers without separating the layers. Across a phylogenetically diverse range of 36 angiosperm species, the estimated Young’s moduli (a measure of stiffness) of mesophyll layers were much lower than those of the epidermis layers, indicating that leaf laminas behaved similarly to efficient sandwich structures. The stiffness of epidermis layers was higher in evergreen species than in deciduous species, and strongly associated with cuticle thickness. The ubiquitous nature of sandwich structures in leaves across studied species suggests that the sandwich structure has evolutionary advantages as it enables leaves to be simultaneously thin and flat, efficiently capturing light and maintaining mechanical stability under various stresses.
Description: 薄く平らな葉:「当たり前」に秘められた「超」効率的な構造を発見 -自然の知恵から、新たな平面構造の開発・応用に期待-. 京都大学プレスリリース. 2015-02-12.
Rights: © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI(Published Version): 10.1093/jxb/erv024
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