Propiconazole, a triazole fungicide, has been reported to inhibit leaf expansion in pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees when applied under field conditions. This study was conducted to determine the effect of propiconazole on pecan leaf morphology and structure using light and transmission electron microscopy. Mature pecan trees were sprayed once or three times per week from budbreak to pollen maturity. Fungicide sprays resulted in significantly reduced leaf area. Compared to controls, leaves from propiconazole-treated shoots had alterations in cell arrangement characterized by more tightly packed palisade parenchyma cells with fewer intercellular spaces; neither leaf thickness nor palisade or spongy layer thickness were affected. Propiconazole caused modifications in the chloroplasts, with a tendency for internal membranes to be less defined, and for thylakiods to exhibit less stacking. The extent of structural changes was related to fungicide dosage. Results show that propiconazole applications during leaf development can inhibit leaf expansion and modify cellular organization of the mesophyll cells. Chemical name used: 1-[[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2-yl] methyl]-1H-1,2,4-triazole (propiconazole).
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