The periderm and exodermis of taproots and tuberous taproots contain an extracellular lipid polymer, suberin, deposited in their cell walls. This polymer is intractable in organic solvents, and is co-deposited with chloroform-extractable waxes. These suberin-associated root waxes are typically composed of alkanes, primary alcohols, fatty acids, alkyl ferulates, alkyl caffeates, and alkyl coumarates (Espelie et al., 1980; Li et al., 2007; Kosma et al., 2015). They are believed to contribute to the diffusion barrier properties of suberized cell walls (Soliday et al., 1979), and possibly have other roles yet to be discovered. Here we describe a protocol to extract and analyze waxes associated with root suberin. This fraction of aliphatic components is extracted by whole root immersion in chloroform, and is then chemically modified to prepare samples that are more suitable to gas-chromatography analysis. This protocol is optimized for Arabidopsis thaliana, but can be used with roots of other plants as described herein.
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