Don Schaeffer wrote:
Thanks Jim. The dissection of the leaves is several cell levels thick. I try to focus up and down through the various cell layers as if it were a composite.
I thought I found that there were changes inside the leaf when it dried. The smooth cell structure in the layers below the surface was replaced with more rigid cell walls and circular growths began to appear. Does this seem credible to you?
Probably gotten myself into too deep here. Really need a cell biologist. I can think of many things that could be happening, but really just guessing. For example, outer cells would be more protective in nature, covered with waxy cuticle, etc. Leaves in general have less lignocellulose than stems as they are not structural in nature. Drying changes many things, think dried versus cooked spagetti, so increase in rigidity easy to see. Drying also changes spectral response. For example, glucose and sucrose look very different as dried crystals in the visible, but in water they look very similar. So as leaves dry, I can see where all sorts of things physically, chemically and spectrally could occur.
For example, take a green coke bottle, grind it up and it looks white due to scattering. But put it in carbon tetrachloride and it looks green again.
I'm not sure anything above helps you, but those are my thoughts.
There are many things like this I see in retirement which are interesting, but:
1. Even searching the literature is very expensive when one pays out of ones own pocket for articles at $25 or more.
2. Don't have access to instruments to study things. Even being a researcher, it still absolutely floors me how expensive research is. I would estimate each peer reviewed article where I worked cost on average at least $100,000.
One of my questions, which may be known, is how cactus can change. Cactus have no vascular system like many plants which why it is easy to graft one onto another so easily. But i they get big, they develop trucks like trees for support (Galapogus prickly pear for example). Some large prickly pears look like trees with cactus on top. Inside one finds rod like structure. They probably have lignin like trees, but I personally don't know if that is true.
Good luck with your work;