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The plant cuticle is an extracellular layer that covers all primary aerial organs of land plants. It is mainly composed of a polymer cutin and associated cuticular waxes. As the interface between the plant and its surrounding environment, the cuticle protects plants from external biotic and abiotic stresses. ...

The plant cuticle is an extracellular layer that covers all primary aerial organs of land plants. It is mainly composed of a polymer cutin and associated cuticular waxes. As the interface between the plant and its surrounding environment, the cuticle protects plants from external biotic and abiotic stresses. In this sense, besides its principal function of avoiding passive water loss, the plant cuticle plays different ecological roles: it prevents organ fusion, and protects against pests and pathogens attacks; it also provides mechanical stability, thereby preventing failure when facing heavy wind and rain, among other stressors. In some plant species, wax crystals create a self-cleaning surface (lotus effect), which precludes the dusty accumulation of blocking sunlight; in some cases, it can also screen excessive UV radiation.

Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of drought and heatwaves across the globe. Due to its outermost position, the plant cuticle forms the first physical barrier against environmental stressors. Therefore, it is essential to understand whether environmental changes can modify the physical-chemical structure of the plant cuticle and, if yes, how such modifications alter its ecological functions. Also, it is fundamental to investigate how the biosynthesis and the further deposition of either single or multiple cuticular components respond to changes (natural or manipulated) in water availability, air humidity, temperature, light, among others. To improve our current knowledge of these processes is highly necessary, especially in a global environmental change scenario. This knowledge can be applied in agriculture to track potential changes in plant performance and promote suitable measures of plant protection. Moreover, from the agronomical point of view, a deeper understanding of the cuticle-environment interaction will improve the storage conditions of fruit and vegetable, thereby prolonging their postharvest shelf-life.

We welcome Original Research articles, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Methods, and Perspectives around, but not exclusively, the following topics:
• Chemical pollution and plant cuticles.
• Effect of the environment (temperature, drought, air humidity, light, among others) on the cuticular biosynthesis, deposition, and function.
• Foliar pesticide-herbicide uptake (at cuticular level).
• Foliar water uptake (at cuticular level).
• Hydration mechanisms of plant cuticles.
• Mechanical and thermal properties of plant cuticles during development and postharvest of fruits.
• Plant cuticle-insect interaction.
• Plant cuticle-pathogen interaction.
• Sunscreening properties of plant cuticles.
• Wax biosynthesis and composition.
• Cutin biosynthesis and composition.
• Cuticular structure-function properties.
• Cuticle microstructure-structural color relations.

Please note:
- Studies defining gene families or descriptive collection of transcripts, proteins, or metabolites, will not be considered for review unless they are expanded and provide mechanistic and/or physiological insights into the biological system or process being studied.
- Descriptive studies that report responses to a given treatment will not be considered if they do not progress physiological understanding of these responses.

Keywords: Plant cuticle, postharvest shelf-life, Chemical pollution, Foliar water uptake, Plant cuticle-pathogen interaction, mechanical properties, cuticular biosynthesis, cuticle structure, structural colour


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