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Laticifers distribution in secondary phloem of the Amazon wood species/Distribuicao dos laticiferos no floema secundario de especies lenhosas da Amazonia.

The presence of laticifers in the bark is common in species of Apocynaceae, Clusiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Moraceae and Sapotaceae in the Amazon forest (Ribeiro et al., 1999), whose success laticiferous plants in different environments compared to non laticiferous, is due to functions commonly attributed to latex to protect against herbivory and sealing injuries (Metcalfe, 1967; Mahlberg, 1993). Furthermore, amazon laticiferous plants are widely known by use of the latex for medicinal and toxic purposes for traditional peoples living in floodplains of Amazon forest (Braga et al., 2007).

It is reported that in direct contact with skin or when inhaled, the latex of H. crepitans (assacu in portuguese) causes headaches, mouth and throat sores (Barg, 2004), and it is still used to stun fish schools when launched directly on the water while fishing in the Amazon rivers (Zahn & Hecker, 1992). The secretion in natura diluted with water and other preparations obtained from the latex of F. maxima (caxinguba in portuguese) are taken without any therapeutic proof as antihelminthics by traditional Amazon peoples.

For H. crepitans and F. maxima are unknown anatomical reports on laticifers in the bark of these species. However, there are anatomic studies to laticifers of Apocynaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Moraceae were published by Brazilian researchers (Milanez, 1966; Valente & Carvalho, 1973; Appezzato-da-Gloria & Estelita, 1997; Larrosa & Duarte, 2005; Demarco et al., 2006; Palhares et al., 2007; Demarco & Castro, 2008; Krentkowski & Duarte, 2012). To contribute with future results on these potential vector species present with medicinal properties of latex, is described the anatomical distribution of laticifers from bark of Hura crepitans and Ficus maxima, tree species typical of the floodplains of Solimoes and Amazonas river in Amazon rainforest.

We analyzed samples of the secondary phloem of the five trees of F. maxima and H. crepitans of the populations of the floodplains of Solimoes river in Amazon forest (03[degrees] 05 '59" S /63[degrees] 01' 52" W), Coari county, Amazonas state, Brazil (Figures 1A-C). Collections were made from February/2008 to February/2010. Vouchers of F. maxima were deposited in the Herbarium INPA of National Institute of Amazonian Research--INPA, and vouchers of H. crepitans were deposited in the Herbarium HUAM of Federal University of Amazonas--UFAM.

Laticifers was described from secondary phloem samples of the trunk by were fixed in Karnovsky solution (Karnovsky, 1965), dehydrated in 50, 70 and 80% alcohol, embedded in HistoResin (hydroxyethylmethacrylate; Leica, Germany), following the manufacturer's instructions, and cut in a semiautomatic microtome. The sections (10 [micro]m) were stained in an aqueous solution of toluidine blue at pH 4.7 (O'Brien et al., 1964) and mounted in new Entellan synthetic resin (Merck, Germany).

Ficus maxima and Hura crepitans are typical trees of lowland areas of the Amazon forest (Figures 1A-C). This species has in common the presence of latex in its bark, which is immediate release upon injury to the bark, as shown in H. crepitans (Figure 1C), and after a short time, these specie bark latex coagulates and seals the injured place. This demonstrates the efficiency of the secretion contained in laticifers in sealing injured areas, preventing the entry of microorganisms (Demarco et al., 2006). It is said that the thickened primary cell walls of laticifers possess adcrustantes substances sealing the laticifer system from other adjacent cells (Fineran et al., 1988; Castro & Machado, 2006). However, when this latex samples are collected and kept in inert containers, the latex does not coagulate. Solubility is a characteristic sought by researchers who work with latex processing in laboratory, indicating the possibility of using the latex of F. maxima and H. crepitans as for the bioactive substance prospection.

Laticifers possess radial distribution in the secondary phloem trunk of F. maxima, and diffuse distribution in the axial phloem H. crepitans (Figures 2A-F). The radial distribution of laticifers is a characteristic shared by very few species, being observed as for the stem Cryptostegia grandiflora (Milanez, 1966), Ficus altissima (Vreede, 1949), Pimelodendron amboinicum (Sudo & Fujii, 1987), Croton panamensis and C. conduplicatus (Rudall, 1989), Morus nigra (Veenendall & Outer, 1990).

In Brosimum gaudichaudii the perpendicular distribution of laticifers in rays of roots was also described (Palhares et al., 2007). Most likely there is a correlation between the secretion contained in the latex and the anatomical distribution pattern of latex in F. maxima and H. crepitans. Reserve substances to the parenchyma of the bark are usually connected to the supply of metabolites to vascular cambium at the beginning of the growing season of plants, and the supply of carbon stocks necessary for the stimulation of growth after injury of organs (Machado et al., 2005; Larrosa & Duarte, 2005; Demarco et al., 2006; Palhares et al., 2007; Demarco & Castro, 2008; Krentkowski & Duarte, 2012).

Distribution patterns of laticifers of F. maxima and H. crepitans are similar to of many laticiferous plants. However, field observations on secretion of the latex of these plants after injury, associated with the prior knowledge of its uses, leads us to indicate these species for exploration of bioactive substances in the latex laboratory for formulation of probable drugs in the antihelminthic treatment.

Received: 19 July 2012

Accepted: 04 February 2013


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Alexandre Antonio Alonso (1) *, Maria Silvia Mendonca (2), Renato Santos Reis (2), Pedro Luis Trevisan Araujo Biondo (2), Ressiliane Ribeiro Prata Alonso (3)

(1) Federal University of Goias, Goiania, GO, Brazil

(2) Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, AM, Brazil

(3) Piatam Project, Environmental Intelligence Strategic Petroleum Industry in the Amazon, Manaus, AM, Brazil

* Corresponding author, e-mail:
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Title Annotation:Scientific Note
Author:Alonso, Alexandre Antonio; Mendonca, Maria Silvia; Reis, Renato Santos; Biondo, Pedro Luis Trevisan
Publication:Comunicata Scientiae
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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