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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 428141, 13 pages
Research Article

Leaf Anatomy and Photochemical Behaviour of Solanum lycopersicum L. Plants from Seeds Irradiated with Low-LET Ionising Radiation

1Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy
2Department of Physics, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 4-80126 Naples, Italy
3Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 4-80126 Naples, Italy

Received 5 February 2014; Accepted 17 March 2014; Published 23 April 2014

Academic Editor: Charles Hocart

Copyright © 2014 V. De Micco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Plants can be exposed to ionising radiation not only in Space but also on Earth, due to specific technological applications or after nuclear disasters. The response of plants to ionising radiation depends on radiation quality/quantity and/or plant characteristics. In this paper, we analyse some growth traits, leaf anatomy, and ecophysiological features of plants of Solanum lycopersicum L. “Microtom” grown from seeds irradiated with increasing doses of X-rays (0.3, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Gy). Both juvenile and compound leaves from plants developed from irradiated and control seeds were analysed through light and epifluorescence microscopy. Digital image analysis allowed quantifying anatomical parameters to detect the occurrence of signs of structural damage. Fluorescence parameters and total photosynthetic pigment content were analysed to evaluate the functioning of the photosynthetic machinery. Radiation did not affect percentage and rate of seed germination. Plants from irradiated seeds accomplished the crop cycle and showed a more compact habitus. Dose-depended tendencies of variations occurred in phenolic content, while other leaf anatomical parameters did not show distinct trends after irradiation. The sporadic perturbations of leaf structure, observed during the vegetative phase, after high levels of radiation were not so severe as to induce any significant alterations in photosynthetic efficiency.