Question Video: Describing the Role of Cutin and Suberin in Plants Biology

What is the primary role of cutin and suberin in plants?


Video Transcript

What is the primary role of cutin and suberin in plants? (A) To provide structure and support to the vascular tissues. (B) To maintain the shape of the reproductive organs. (C) To maintain the shape of cell walls. (D) To act as impermeable and waterproof barriers. Or (E) to determine what enters and leaves the plant cells.

This question asks us about the role of cutin and suberin, which are two different polymers that can be deposited into plant cell walls. The permanent deposition of polymers, such as cutin and suberin, into certain plant cell walls are examples of structural support mechanisms in plants.

Cutin is a substance present in the cell walls of epidermal cells, forming a layer called the waxy cuticle on the surface of certain parts of the plant, like its leaves. Cutin does not only provide some extra strength and rigidity to these cells but also, somewhat more importantly, acts as an impermeable barrier to water. This is especially helpful in the waxy cuticle, as it helps to prevent the entrance of pathogens into the plant’s inner tissues, as water droplets and any waterborne pathogens within them are likely to drop right off the leaves.

Suberin is a substance found in corky plant tissue, which often forms in response to infection or after a leaf drop. Like cutin, suberin also acts as an impermeable and waterproof barrier, helping to reduce the risk of infection, albeit in the case of suberin this is not in the waxy cuticle but at vulnerable newly formed openings.

Therefore, we can deduce that the correct answer to this question is (D). The primary roles of cutin and suberin are to act as impermeable and waterproof barriers.

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