Interaction of Organic Solvents With the Epicuticular Wax Layer of Wheat Leaves

J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Sep 18;61(37):8737-42. doi: 10.1021/jf402846k. Epub 2013 Sep 6.


After foliar application, compounds that are not absorbed into leaves can be removed from the leaf surface by dipping or rinsing in dilutions of organic solvents in water. However, interactions between solvent mixtures and the epicuticular wax layer have received little attention, and information on potential physical and chemical intactness of the plant surface following application of solvents is limited. In this study, wheat leaves were dipped in organic solvents at different dilutions with water, and the major component of the leaf epicuticular wax layer, 1-octacosanol, was analyzed to assess damage to the wax layer. Dipping leaves in dilutions of organic solvent higher than 60% by volume resulted in only negligible or low levels of 1-octacosanol extraction, while no 1-octacosanol was detected in any mixtures containing less than 40% organic solvent. Furthermore, analysis of leaf surfaces by scanning electron microscopy showed structural intactness of the epicuticular wax layer when organic solvent mixtures were used. Therefore, our results demonstrate that the epicuticular wax layer of wheat leaves is not altered physically or chemically by organic solvent solutions up to 40% by volume. These findings validate the use of solvent washing procedures to assess unabsorbed compounds on wheat leaf surfaces.

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Alcohols / chemistry*
  • Plant Epidermis / chemistry*
  • Plant Exudates / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Triticum / chemistry*
  • Waxes / chemistry*


  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Plant Exudates
  • Solvents
  • Waxes
  • 1-octacosanol