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Digestion of lettuce lactuca sativa in rats observed by scanning electron microscopy



Digestion of lettuce lactuca sativa in rats observed by scanning electron microscopy



Nutrition Reports International 21(5): 681-688



Fresh lettuce (L. sativa) and its surface digestive patterns in rats were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Photomicrographs of fresh lettuce leaves showed irregularly shaped cells with small randomly oriented stomata on adaxial and abaxial surfaces. Cross sections revealed random dispersions of vascular tissue and undifferentiated mesophyll. Digestion began in the stomach with cuticular and vascular tissue separation by action of hydrochloric acid. Intact mesophyll cells became distorted and compacted. Cell wall decomposition was not evident in duodenal or jejunal samples but continued cuticular sloughing was observed. Bacteria became evident on lettuce mesophyll surfaces of ileal samples. Mesophyll was separated from vascular tissue with further compaction and some degradation of the primary cell walls of exposed tracheal tubes from ileal and cecal samples. Continued digestion of these primary cell walls occurred in the large intestine with phloem separation and increased bacterial population but no apparent digestion of residual plant surfaces. Sloughed cuticle, disrupted tracheal tubes and compressed mesophyll were present in feces. [Fiber sources vary in their extent to aid in digestion and function and structure appear to be interrelated.].

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Accession: 005161573

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