Chemical composition and water permeability of fruit and leaf cuticles of Olea europaea L.
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The plant cuticle, protecting against uncontrolled water loss, covers olive (Olea europaea) fruits and leaves. The present study describes the organ-specific chemical composition of the cuticular waxes and the cutin and compares three developmental stages of fruits (green, turning and black) with the leaf surface. Numerous organ-specific differences, such as the total coverage of cutin monomeric components (1034.4 µg/cm2 and 630.5 µg/cm2) and the cuticular waxes (201.6 µg/cm2 and 320.4 µg/cm2) among all three fruit stages and leaves, respectively, were detected. Water permeability as the main cuticular function was five-fold lower in adaxial leaf cuticles (2.1 x 10-5 m/s) in comparison to all three fruit stages (9.5 x 10-5 m/s). The three fruit developmental stages have the same cuticular water permeability. It is hypothesized that a higher weighted average chain length of the acyclic cuticular components leads to a considerably lower permeability of the leaf as compared to the fruit cuticle.