134 Seasonal Variation in Composition and Total Load of Leaf Blade Epicuticular Waxes on Hosta

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907

Hosta variants for epicuticular waxes were selected based on variation in surface glaucousness, from highly glaucous to highly glossy. In an effort to determine seasonal variation in hosta waxes, gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry was used to perform detailed chemical analysis of the adaxial and abaxial leaf blade waxes four times points during the growing season, early spring, mid-spring, mid-summer, and autumn. These studies revealed that in all variants, the total wax loads increased dramatically during the period of leaf expansion in the spring, dropped roughly five fold by midsummer, and then accumulated slightly above summer levels into the fall season. The dominant wax constituent class on all hosta cultivars was primary alcohols. Changes in these alcohols were primarily responsible for seasonal changes in total wax load. In some variants, the shorter chain length alcohols were unusually high compared with alcohol distributions normally found on other plants. Besides primary alcohols, significant amounts of acids, aldehydes, and alkanes, were also found and shown to vary during the growing season. A possible association between these seasonal changes in wax profiles and hosta resistance to slugs is discussed.

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