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《Quaternary Sciences》 2005-02
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MICROMORPHOLOGY CHARACTERISTICS OF STARCH GRAINS FROM Setaria italica, Panicum miliaceum AND S. viridis AND ITS SIGNIFICATION FOR ARCHAEOBOTANY

Yang Xiaoyan Lü Houyuan Liu Tungsheng Han Jiamao (Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing100029)  
Starch grains are microscopic granules that serve as the principal food storage mechanism of plants. They are found mainly in roots, tubers and seeds, where they are often produced in abundant numbers. The fact that starch grains of different plants possess a large variety of forms has also been recognized for some time. Here we distinguished the shapes, surface decorations and sizes of Setaria italica, Panicum miliaceum and S. viridis, in order to propose another effective approach to study the plant remains at archaeological sites in North China. We examined starch grains at a magnitude of 400. Starch grains of S. italica are mostly simple grains, with spherical shapes and smooth surface. It has a central hilum with distinct one to three short radiating fissures. The length ranges from 12~38 μm. Starch grains of P. miliaceum are mostly simple grains, smooth surface and spherical shape with 3 to 5 projecting corners. The central hilum is not distinct, with one to three short radiating fissures sometimes. The size of starch grains is 10~25 μm. The average length of starch grains of S. viridis is about 18 μm, oval shape with irregular depressions and pressure facets. Our study indicated that we can distinguish starch remains at archaeological sites effectively by the micromorphological characteristics of starch grains from plants. We propose starch grains to be another approach to study the origin of agriculture in China.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金项目(批准号: 40401008);; 国家杰出青年科学基金项目 (批准号: 40325002 );; 2003年度刘东生国家最高科学技术奖专项项目共同资助
【CateGory Index】: Q946
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