The goo-d stuff: Plantago as a myxospermous model with modern utility

New Phytol. 2021 Feb;229(4):1917-1923. doi: 10.1111/nph.17095. Epub 2020 Dec 14.


Mucilage, a gel-like layer formed around wetted seeds in a process called myxospermy, has importance as a proxy for studying cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis and interactions and as a source of valuable health supplements and hydrocolloids. Arabidopsis thaliana has provided unrivalled insight into mucilage/cell wall synthesis, but its lack of commercial utility presents an opportunity to develop an alternative myxospermous model linking genetics, chemistry and functionality. Here, we discuss recent advances in the understanding of mucilage production, composition and properties of Plantago, a promising candidate as an alternative model with economic relevance. We outline how genomic/transcriptomic and chemical analysis advances could be made to strengthen Plantago's use as a model system, through challenging but achievable approaches.

Keywords: Plantago; mucilage; myxospermy; polysaccharides; psyllium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Plant Mucilage*
  • Plantago*
  • Polysaccharides
  • Seeds


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Plant Mucilage
  • Polysaccharides