Refractive index of plant cell walls.

Abstract

Air was replaced with media of higher refractive indices by vacuum infiltration in leaves of cucumber, blackeye pea, tomato, and string bean plants, and reflectance of noninfiltrated and infiltrated leaves was spectrophotometrically measured. Infiltrated leaves reflected less light than noninfiltrated leaves over the 500-2500-nm wavelength interval because cell wall-air interfaces were partly eliminated. Minimal reflectance should occur when the average refractive index of plant cell walls was matched by the infiltrating fluid. Although refractive indices that resulted in minimal reflectance differed among the four plant genera, an average value of 1.425 approximates the refractive index of plant cell walls for the four plant genera.

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