Molecular xylem wall structure of an inclined Cycas micronesica stem, a tropical gymnosperm
The molecular structure of tracheid walls of an inclined eccentrically grown stem of Cycas micronesica K.D. Hill did not differ between the upper and lower side. The absence the typical molecular features of compression wood tracheids, i.e. an increased galactose and lignin content as well as an increased microfibril angle, indicated that cycads do not have the ability to form even very mild forms of compression wood, which lacks anatomical features commonly observed in compression wood. Analysis of the sugar monomers in Cycas micronesica tracheids did reveal a rather unique composition of the non-cellulosic polysaccharides for a gymnosperm. The low mannose and high xylose content resembled a cell wall matrix common in angiosperms. The crystalline cellulose structure in Cycas micronesica tracheids closely resembled those of secondary cell walls in Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. tracheids. However, the spacing between the sheets of cellulose chains was wider and the cellulose fibrils appeared to form larger aggregates than in Sitka spruce tracheids.