PLANT&FOREST

An efficient microscopic technique for aleurone observation with an entire kernel cross-section in maize (Zea mays L.)

Jae-Hong Kim, Ji Won Kim, Gibum Yi*

Department of Bio-Environmental Chemistry, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea

*Corresponding author: gibumyi@cnu.ac.kr

Abstract

The aleurone layer in maize is crucial as it contains essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and high-quality proteins. While most of the maize varieties are known to possess a single aleurone layer, several multi-aleurone layer mutants and landraces have been suggested for hierarchical genetic control of aleurone development. Conventional microscopy analysis often involves using immature seeds or sampling only a portion of the kernel sample, and whole kernel section analysis using a microtome is technically difficult and timeconsuming. Additionally, the larger size of maize kernels posed challenges for comprehensive cross-sectional analysis compared to other cereal crops. Consequently, this study aimed to develop an efficient method to comprehensively understand the aleurone layer characteristics of the entire cross-section in maize. Through observations of diverse maize genetic resources, we confirmed irregular aleurone layer patterns in those with multiple aleurone layers, and we discovered a landrace having multiple aleurone layers. By selectively identifying genetic resources with multiple aleurone layers, this method may contribute to efficient breeding processes in maize.

Keywords

aleurone layer, corn, endosperm, microscopy analysis, microtome

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