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Bukhanov E. R., Shefer A. D., Shabanov A. V., Gurevich Yu. L., Krakhalev M. N. The Structure, Optical and Spectral Characteristics of Epicuticular Wax of Blue Spruce Needles

photonic crystal, electron microscopy, optical microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, numerical modeling of one-dimensional photonic crystals, Picea pungens Engelm.


UDC: 535.3

How to cite: Bukhanov E. R.1, 2, Shefer A. D.2, Shabanov A. V.1, Gurevich Yu. L.2, Krakhalev M. N.1 The structure, optical and spectral characteristics of epicuticular wax of blue spruce needles // Sibirskij Lesnoj Zurnal (Sib. J. For. Sci.). 2024. N. 1. P. 97–106 (in Russian with English abstract and references).

DOI: 10.15372/SJFS20240111

EDN: …

© Bukhanov E. R., Shefer A. D., Shabanov A. V., Gurevich Yu. L., Krakhalev M. N., 2024

A method for separating clean plates of epicuticular wax has been proposed. The use of water, which can penetrate deeply into wax structures under the influence of van der Waals forces and expand upon freezing, allows to quickly obtain uncontaminated wax plates with a native structure without any third-party chemical impurities. Using scanning electron microscopy, images of blue spruce (Picea pungens Engelm.) needle wax were obtained. Its morphological and structural characteristics have been determined. A distinctive feature is the presence of wax nanotubules with a characteristic diameter of ~150 nm and a length of 3–5 μm. Nanotubes lie on top of each other in stacks, forming a one-dimensional long-period lattice. Microscopic observations of the wax were made in reflected and transmitted light. It has been shown that the coating of blue spruce needles consists of microparticles of wax with a structural color. In a wide spectral range, individual particles change color from blue to red, as a result, large conglomerates of particles are white. Fluorescence spectra of needles with native wax cover and the same needles after wax removal were obtained. When comparing the width of fluorescence lines at half-height of blue spruce needles with and without wax, the influence of the wax layer on the lifetime of excited electrons in photosystem II was revealed, thereby establishing a connection between the wax cover and the process of photosynthesis. Using the matrix transfer method, transmission spectra were calculated for a lattice similar to a waxy structure, a chloroplast, and a combination of a waxy structure with a chloroplast. In the latter version, the long-wave zone of selective reflection is much wider than in individual cases. When examining a structure containing a chloroplast and epicuticular wax, there is a slight splitting of the stop zone, as if there were a defect, which contributes to a high concentration of energy at the site of splitting. Due to an increase in energy concentration, the density of photonic states at the corresponding wavelengths increases. This effect is important for photosynthesis because, according to Fermi's golden rule, the rate of reaction is proportional to the density of photonic states. The calculation results are in good agreement with the experimental spectra.



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