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In this article we will discuss about the ergastic substances present in the cells of a plant: 1. Reserve Materials 2. Secretory Materials 3. Excretory Materials or. Ergastic substance Ergastic substances are non-protoplasm materials found in cells. The living protoplasm of a cell is sometimes called the bioplasm and. How to cite this paper: Ekeke, C. and Agbagwa, I.O. () Ergastic Substances ( Calcium Oxalate Crystals) in the Leaf of. Combretum Loefl.

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Abstract The ergastic substances of 93 angiospermous seed samples belonging to the family Fabaceae have been investigated. Forty four and 86 of the samples indicated positive eggastic alkaloid and fats and oil respectively while 34 samples indicated the presence of protein and tannins. The morphological characteristics of starch grains i.

Of the 93 seed samples 27 are found to contain starch grain.

However, the starch grains are restricted mainly to the herbaceous habit. In general arborescent taxa either lack starch grains or such grains are of sparing occurrence. The ergastic substances are secondary products of plant metabolism, which might have been formed at certain stages of metabolic process and erhastic retained when the taxon in question underwent further evolution Erdtman, Since seed is the storage sibstances of ergastic materials regastic as alevrone grains and starch grains and these stored materials are of taxonomic value, protein bodies, alkaloids and oil and fat sbstances are of limited systematic value.

However, the shape, size and percentages of different types of starch grains are of great systematic value as demonstrated ergastc Tatteoka and in the substnces Poaceae. Harz was the pioneer in the recognition of the taxonomic value of starch grains. Hackel and Reichert used the starch grain characteristics in the delimitation of genera and species in the family Poaceae. A substancew study of the structure of starch grains and the type of striations is of great significance in determining the identity of taxa, especially when starch is used as an adulterant in commercial flour.

Ergasgic have been made by different workers at elucidating the chemical composition of plants belonging to different families Nwachukwu and Edeoga, dubstances data from such investigation suggest that thorough survey of different taxonomic groups might give results of taxonomic significance as earlier expressed by Hilditch substqnces The present research is a part of ongoing project on the nature of ergastic substances in angiospermic seeds.

The earlier contributions on this project are Gill and AyodeleGill et al. The results of the survey of 93 Fabaceae seeds for ergastic substances are reported here.

This study was carried out in Chemical tests of various ergastic substances were carried out following methods used by Idu and Gill The results of the taxa studied for their ergastic substances according to their life forms trees, herbs and shrubs have been summarized in Table 1 – 3 respectively. The morphological characters of starch grain of 27 species of Fabaceae are summarized in Table 4 – 6 according to their life forms. For about four decades now, much attention has been focused on the comparative studies of basic molecules in relation to taxonomic problems.


De-Wet and Scott are of the opinion that essential oil can be used as a taxonomic criterion and according to them, chemical characters are often found to be more reliable than the gross morphology in determining the taxonomic affinities. Several researchers, Bate-Smith and MetcalfeGill et al.

From the present survey of 93 seed samples of Fabaceae, 46 taxa were herbaceous and 47 ligneous. Of these, alkaloid was found to be present in 44 taxa; 25 taxa are herbaceous and 19 ligneous. Gill and Abili reported the occurrence of alkaloids in of the angiospermic seeds they investigated and Gill et al.

They also reported the absence of alkaloids in the seeds of members of the family Agavaceae, Caricaceae, Cornaceae and Limnatheceae. Fats and Oil have been observed in all the presently investigated taxa except the following species Acacia albidaA. Out of the 86 taxa reported here to contain Fats and Oil, 44 are herbaceous and 42 are ligneous. Gill and Abili in their survey of ergastic substances of angiospermic wrgastic reported the occurrence of Fats and Oil in all the taxa except Pertya sinensis Asteraceae.

Ergastic substance | Revolvy

De-Wet and Scott are of the opinion that essential oils zubstances be used as a taxonomic criterion and according to the chemical characters are often ervastic to be more reliable than the gross morphology in determining the taxonomic affinities. Proteins have been observed in the substsnces of Fabaceae investigated except in Astragalus cicerA. Tannins on the other hand have been recorded in 34 taxa of which 18 are herbaceous and 16 ligneous. Bete-Smith and Metcalfe demonstrated the importance of tannins as a taxonomic character and according to them, there tend to be a parallelism between the occurrence of tannins and phylogenetic status of the family in which they occur.

The lack of tannins is often more marked in herbaceous than woody plants. In other words, the presence of tannins in a ergastid is a primitive character and gets lost with increasing ergaatic specialization. Earlier, Gill and Abili reported the occurrence of starch grains in 17 out of taxa they investigated.

During the present study, starch grains have been recorded only in 27 taxa. It is interesting to note that 19 taxa containing starch grain ergaetic of herbaceous habit and only 8 ligneous. Also, simple ergastid grains have been recorded in all except Crotalaris ochrolencaStizolobium deeringianumVigna mungo and V. The shapes of starch grains in the majority of taxa investigated were circular, predominantly, followed by irregular and oblong shape grains.

The size of starch grains in variable from the smallest 6. The helium and striation were predominantly distinct. Apparently, there is no correlation between starch grains characteristics and phylogenetic position of the taxa investigated. Similar results had earlier been reported by Gill and Abili and Gill et al. Theoretically, compound starch grains are expected to be in herbaceous taxa, which was so during this study, while simple starch grains were found in ligneous taxa.


The shape of starch grains where observed sustances to reflect the phylogenetic position of the taxa as circular starch grains were found more in woody taxa while irregular and other eubstances of starch grains were observed among the herbaceous taxa. Therefore, the occurrence of starch grains, shape and size does not reflect the phylogenetic position of the taxa in which they are found.

Further, Gill and Ayodele and Gill et al. According to these workers, starch grains are generally associated with herbaceous habit and the results of the present investigation confirm this hypothesis. However, the relationship between the occurrence of starch grain and life form does not hold for the family Asteraceae Omoigui and Gill, ; Idu and Gill, The foregoing account proves the utility of the nature of ergastic substances in the field drgastic systematics and this has been comprehensively reviewed by Bate-Smith and Boulter et al.

From the foregoing discussion, it is apparent that the plant seeds showing the presence of proteins and fats and oil could be qualitatively analyzed and this needs further investigation.

Those showing suitable quantities of fat and oil and proteins palatable for human consumption could be commercially exploited.

The taxa, which gave positive test for alkaloids and tannins, need further investigation for possible exploitation in the pharmaceutical and leather industries. The nature and systematic distribution of tannins in dicotyledonous plants. Chemical approach to plant taxonomy. Observations on the cytology and seed proteins of various Substanecs species of Crotolaria L. Efgastic oils as taxonomic criteria. Flavonoid heartwood constituents of conifers.

On the nature of ergastic substances in the seeds of some tropical and temporate angiosperms. On the nature of ergastic substances in some Caryophyllaceae seeds-IX.

The Different types of Ergastic Materials of a Cell

Nature of ergastic substances in some angiospermic seeds-V. On the nature of stored food material in the seeds of some Nigerian legumes. On the nature of ergastic substances in the seeds of some Nigerian Leguminosae II.

Nature of ergastic substances in some meditaranean angiospermous seeds VI. The True Grasses Graminaceae. Scribner and Southworth, London. Beitrage Zur Systematic der Gramineen. The seed and fruit fats subsances plants.

Nature of ergastic substances in some Asteracaceae seed VII. Tannins, starch and crystals in some species of Indigofera L. Nature shbstances ergastic substances in some West African compositae.

The differentiation and specificity of starches subztances relation to genera, species etc. Carriage Last Wash Publ. Further studies in starch grains of seeds in Poaceae from the view points of systematics. Starch grains of endosperms in grass systematics. Research Journal of Botany Volume 3 1: How to cite this article: Research Journal of Botany, 3: The morphological characteristics of starch grain of some species of Fabaceae.