Mechanical stimulation in Brachypodium distachyon: Implications for fitness, productivity, and cell wall properties

Agnieszka Gladala-Kostarz, John Doonan, Maurice Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
98 Downloads (Pure)


Mechanical stimulation, including exposure to wind, is a common environmental variable for plants. However, knowledge about the morphogenetic response of the grasses (Poaceae) to mechanical stimulation and impact on relevant agronomic traits is very limited. Two natural accessions of Brachypodium distachyon were exposed to wind and mechanical treatments. We surveyed a wide range of stem‐related traits to determine the effect of the two treatments on plant growth, development, and stem biomass properties. Both treatments induced significant quantitative changes across multiple scales, from the whole plant down to cellular level. The two treatments resulted in shorter stems, reduced biomass, increased tissue rigidity, delayed flowering, and reduced seed yield in both accessions. Among changes in cell wall‐related features, a substantial increase in lignin content and pectin methylesterase activity was most notable. Mechanical stimulation also reduced the enzymatic sugar release from the cell wall, thus increasing biomass recalcitrance. Notably, treatments had a distinct and opposite effect on vascular bundle area in the two accessions, suggesting genetic variation in modulating these responses to mechanical stimulation. Our findings highlight that exposure of grasses to mechanical stimulation is a relevant environmental factor affecting multiple traits important for their utilization in food, feed, and bioenergy applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1330
Number of pages17
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number5
Early online date17 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020


  • thigmomorphogenesis
  • biomass
  • grasses
  • plant morphology
  • Brachypodium distachyon
  • fitness
  • growth and development
  • mechanical stress
  • cell wall
  • wind
  • Wind
  • Monosaccharides/metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Cell Wall/physiology
  • Lignin/metabolism
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Brachypodium/growth & development


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical stimulation in Brachypodium distachyon: Implications for fitness, productivity, and cell wall properties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this