Leaf cuticle was covered by epicuticular wax consisting mainly of straight chain aliphatic hydrocarbons with a variety of substituted groups. The studies of cuticular characters of leaves had played an important role in chemotaxonomy. An n-hexane extract of fresh and mature leaves of Ficus glomerata, containing a thin layer of epicuticular waxes was analyzed for the first time by Thin Layer Chromatography, Infrared Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography and Scanning Electron Microscopy using standard hydrocarbons. The leaves contained 18 identified long chain (C15â€“C33) n-alkanes except C23 accounting for 68.82% of the hydrocarbons, and an unknown number of unidentified branched chain alkanes. The predominant n-alkanes were C16 (5.92%), C17 (6.18%), C27 (5.11%), C29 (5.29%), C31 (5.47%), whilst C15 (4.21%), C18 (4.57%), C26 (3.88%), C28 (3.53%), C30 (3.43%) n-alkanes were moderately abundant. The C19 (2.53%), C20 (2.52%) and C22 (2.16%) homologues were present only in minor amounts. SEM views were also taken for epicuticular layers and hydrocarbons of the leaves. Qualitative and Quantitative characterization of n-alkanes present in the epicuticular wax can be used as an effective tool in chemotaxonomical work.
Epicuticular leaf waxes, Ficus glomerata Roxb., GC, n-Alkanes, SEM
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