The snap point : a transition point in Linum usitatissimum bast fiber development

T.A. Gorshikova, V.V. Salnikov, S.B. Chemikosova, M.V. Ageeva, N.V. Pavlencheva, J.E.G. van Dam

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    118 Citations (Scopus)


    The developing stem of fibre flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) contains a specific region called the `snap point', where the fiber-enriched bast tissues considerably change their mechanical properties. The snap point was found to be present during a restricted period of plant development¿¿the fast growth phase, and to disappear when stem growth was completed. To relate this snap point to bast fiber formation stages, the number of bast fiber cells and the thickness of their cell walls were followed on the stained cross-sections of the flax stem throughout plant development, using the progressing snap point as the reference. The snap point was shown to be the spot, above which the elongation of bast fiber cells is fully completed. This fast growth stage is the period when the maximum length of all bast fibers in the mature plant (a major characteristic of flax fiber quality) is fixed and would not be changed later. Autoradiography was used to visualize the mode of flax bast fiber elongation above the snap point. The even distribution of label was indicative for surface (diffusive) growth type. Elongation of individual fiber cells was estimated to take only 2¿4 days with a rate of 1¿2 cm per day, while cell wall thickening occurs mainly below snap point and lasts around 2 months. The special cell wall structural order, characteristic for mature bast fibers, first appeared at the snap point in the outer layer of the secondary cell wall. Schemes are included, illustrating the course of cell wall thickening and the localization of various stages of fiber formation on the stem of growing flax plant. The established exact localization and duration of flax bast fiber formation stages, and the existence of snap point as the manually identified morphological reference for the transition, permit to separate the bast fibers at different stages of development and make flax an attractive model system to study the functional genomics of fiber formation in technical crops
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-221
    JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • cell-wall polysaccharides
    • flax plants


    Dive into the research topics of 'The snap point : a transition point in Linum usitatissimum bast fiber development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this