Leaf structure along the successive stages of Early French artichoke Cynara scolymus L. micropropagation was characterized using light and transmission electron microscopy. The mesophyll presents disorganized spongy and palisade parenchyma with large intercellular spaces and a few small chloroplasts in the leaves of plants cultured in vitro. In addition, both epidermal surfaces of such leaves invariably show a cell wall of the same thickness with a very thin cuticle and open stomata. In the root differentiation stage in vitro, structural changes take place in the leaves that are favorable for survival in the acclimatization stage: conspicuous cuticle, greater cell wall thickness, functional stomata, better mesophyll organization, developed vascular bundles, and the presence of sclerenchymatous tissue are observed. These features found in later in vitro stages are maintained in the following ex vitro stages, some becoming more evident. Our results demonstrate that the structural changes required to ensure appropriate acclimatization of micropropagated artichoke plants begin at the root differentiation stage, which can reduce in vivo acclimatization time and achieve greater survival of transferred plants.
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