Institute of Fundamental Technological Research
Polish Academy of Sciences


Urszula Zajączkowska

Recent publications
1.  Zajączkowska U., Kucharski S., Nowak Z., Grabowska K., Morphometric and mechanical characteristics of Equisetum hyemale stem enhance its vibration, PLANTA, ISSN: 0032-0935, DOI: 10.1007/s00425-017-2648-1, Vol.245, No.4, pp.835-848, 2017

The order of the internodes, and their geometry and mechanical characteristics influence the capability of theEquisetumstem to vibrate, potentially stimulating spore liberation at the optimum stress setting along the stem. Equisetum hyemale L. plants represent a special example of cellular solid construction with mechanical stability achieved by a high second moment of area and relatively high resistance against local buckling. We proposed the hypothesis that the order of E. hyemale L. stem internodes, their geometry and mechanical characteristics influence the capability of the stem to vibrate, stimulating spore liberation at the minimum stress setting value along the stem. An analysis of apex vibration was done based on videos presenting the behavior of an Equisetum clump filmed in a wind tunnel and also as a result of excitation by bending the stem by 20°. We compared these data with the vibrations of stems of the same size but deprived of the three topmost internodes. Also, we created a finite element model (FEM), upon which we have based the 'natural' stem vibration as a copy of the real object, 'random' with reshuffled internodes and 'uniform', created as one tube with the characters averaged from all internodes. The natural internode arrangement influences the frequency and amplitude of the apex vibration, maintaining an equal stress distribution in the stem, which may influence the capability for efficient spore spreading.

mechanical properties, plant biomechanics, segmented structure, stem vibration, stress distribution, wind

Zajączkowska U. - other affiliation
Kucharski S. - IPPT PAN
Nowak Z. - IPPT PAN
Grabowska K. - other affiliation
2.  Zajączkowska U., Kucharski S., Guzek D., Are trichomes involved in the biomechanical systems of Cucurbita leaf petioles?, PLANTA, ISSN: 0032-0935, DOI: 10.1007/s00425-015-2388-z, Vol.242, No.6, pp.1453-1465, 2015

Main conclusion
Trichomes are involved in petiole movement and likely function as a part of the plant biomechanical system serving as an additional reservoir of hydrostatic pressure.

The large, non-glandular trichomes on Cucurbita petioles occur across collenchyma strands. Time-lapse imaging was used to study the leaf reorientation of Cucurbita maxima ‘Bambino’ plants placed in horizontal position. The experiment comprised four variants of the large non-glandular petiole trichomes: (1) intact, (2) mechanically removed, (3) dehydrated, and (4) intact but with longitudinally injured petioles. Isolated strands of collenchyma with intact epidermis or epidermis mechanically removed from the abaxial and adaxial sides of the petiole were subjected to breaking test. The stiffness of the non-isolated tissue with intact epidermis was measured using the micro-indentation method. Petioles without trichomes did not exhibit tropic response, and the dehydration of trichomes slowed and prevented complete leaf reorientation. Isolated strands of collenchyma showed no correlation between strength values and position on the petiole. However, strands of collenchyma with epidermis exhibited a significantly greater strength regardless of their position on the petiole. The indentation test showed that non-isolated collenchyma is stiffer on the abaxial side of the petiole. Trichomes from the abaxial side of the petiole were larger at their base. The application of the ‘tensile triangles method’ revealed that these trichomes had a biomechanically optimized shape in comparison to the adaxial side. We conclude that trichomes can be involved in plant biomechanical system and serve as an additional reservoir of hydrostatic pressure that is necessary for maintaining petioles in the prestressed state.

Collenchyma, Epidermis, Plant biomechanics, Shape optimization, Tropic response

Zajączkowska U. - other affiliation
Kucharski S. - IPPT PAN
Guzek D. - other affiliation

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