This chapter presents a review of some important literature linking plant structure with function and/or as response to the environment in Brazilian neotropical savannah species, exemplifying mostly with Amaranthaceae and Melastomataceae and emphasizing the environment potential role in the development of such a structure.
Brazil is recognized as the 17th country in megadiversity of plants, with 17,630 endemic species among a total of 31,162 Angiosperms . The focus in the Brazilian Cerrado Biome (Brazilian Neotropical Savannah) species is justified because this Biome is recognized as a World Priority Hotspot for Conservation, with more than 7,000 plant species and around 4,400 endemic plants [2-3].
The Brazilian Cerrado Biome is a tropical savannah-like ecosystem that occupies about 2 millions of km² (from 3-24° Latitude S and from 41-43° Longitude W), with a hot, semi-humid seasonal climate formed by a dry winter (from May to September) and a rainy summer (from October to April) [4-8]. Cerrado has a large variety of landscapes, from tall savannah woodland to low open grassland with no woody plants and wetlands, as palm swamps, supporting the richest flora among the world’s savannahs-more than 7,000 native species of vascular plants-with high degree of endemism [3, 6]. The “cerrado” word is used to the typical vegetation, with grasses, herbs and 30-40% of woody plants [9-10] where trees and bushes display contorted trunk and branches with thick and fire-resistant bark, shiny coriaceous leaves and are usually recovered with dense indumentum . According to , natural fires and anthropogenic fires coexisted for thousands of years and, together with the seasonality of rainfall and the poverty of nutrients in the soil are the responsible for the phytophysiognomy of Cerrado.
One of the first systematized studies of Cerrado Biome was the one done in Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais State, around the year of 1892, by Warming , who described the place in aspects of soil, temperature, water precipitation and vegetation. When he  described the vegetation of flat grassland, he emphasized the thickness and toughness of Poaceae and Cyperaceae leaves and the abundance of perennial herbs or subshrubs with large lignified underground organs, multiple shoots growing from an underground stem and xeromorphic characteristics, as dense pilosity, coriaceous leaves positioned in acute angle and with reduced size. His  conclusion was that the dryness of the air, the harsh and dry clay soil and eventually, the fire occurrence, were responsible for these xeromorphic features of the plants.
Since then, a lot of work has been done to explain some contradictions such as the abundant flowering and budding and no signs of turgor loss during the dry season . In  linked the plants physiognomy with the occurrence of fire and proposed an ecological classification of the Cerrado plants: plants which survive only during the rainy season, without any bud or leaf during the dry season (winter); grasses with superficial roots, like
The work  indicated that Cerrado soils are deep, with pH between 4,0 and 5,5 (acid) and connected the xeromorphic features in trees to nitrogen deficiency, because the studies done in Cerrado showed that water was not a limiting factor to these plants. In  it was added another important aspect to explain xeromorphic features in Cerrado plants: the high levels of aluminum would be a principal cause of mineral deficiency which would affect all Cerrado vegetation. Soils under Cerrado are usually poor, acid, well drained, deep, and show high levels of exchangeable aluminum [16-17]. The soil of the low grassland in the area of the old Experimental Station of hunting and fishing Emas (Pirassununga, São Paulo State) can be as deep as 20 meters and the groundwater is at 17-18 meters below the surface; only the first one to 1.5 meters dries during the winter and roots of at least one tree (
The occurrence of wildfire is a common and important factor to be considered in the studies of this Biome vegetation, because it selects structural and physiological features of the plants and act as a renewal element . In  were described some strategies which could help the perennial smaller plants to survive fire; during the dry season, some of them reduce or eliminate leaves and shoots and rely on their extensive underground system to re-sprout the aerial system after the dry season or after fire. As examples of fire resistance, in  were quoted the plants studied by ,
An extensive review of the morphological and ecological studies is given in , whose author considered the Cerrado a great environment for scientific discussion and discuss the vegetation in a broader perspective, and in [23-24], whose author is more centered in anatomical aspects of Cerrado species.
Although the Cerrado Biome is a hotspot for the conservation of global biodiversity which shelters species fully adapted to survive under harsh conditions of soil and climate of this savannah-like environment , only 30% of its biodiversity is reasonably known . Considering that the open environments in this Biome are subject to high luminosity and seasonal variation in the rain, how do plants react to adapt themselves? Considering that fire is also a natural event during the dry season, is there any morphological and/or anatomical variations developed to survive? Considering that the groundwater level of some areas can vary in a high degree among the two seasons, how do plants manage to survive? Some of these questions will be addressed and data about it will be shown.
In order to perform studies about morphology, anatomy or cell biology, as well as when the flora is been studied, it is usual to collect control or testimony material to guarantee species identification and further studies . Vegetative and flowering plant branches are collected, pressed, dried and deposited as control material at some Brazilian Herbaria, following usual techniques . The previous identification of the species is done with the aid of a stereomicroscope, identification keys and specialized literature [28-38]. After previous identification, plant vouchers stay preserved to the study of a taxonomist specialized on the family and for future references, including of the place of occurrence, under a specific number of the principal collector, normally not only in one Herbarium (duplicates are usually distributed).
When studying the leaf anatomy,
3. Morphology, histology and cell biology studies
Morphological studies are used to identify and characterize the plant species in taxonomy, but it is also important to understand the behaviour of plants in nature. The first hint on the function is based on the external morphology of the organs. Different plant species can be very alike in habit and vegetative morphology, especially in some plant families as Amaranthaceae, which rely upon some flower details to be truthfully identified, demanding a highly specialized work [33-38, 42-44].
Anatomy and cell biology studies aim to describe and understand the species organs and cells and help taxonomy to define affinities and parental relationships among plant groups. When combined with histochemical analysis they can lead to a better understanding of the cell, tissue or organ function and the interaction between the plant and its environment.
It is usual, in plant structural studies, to bear a description of the aimed plant or organs of interest, assuming that the function is already explained enough by the function of the organ in the plant or by previous researches. As results are subject to interpretation and there are some variables to be considered, it is not usual to connect the structure to the function. However, in the Cerrado species case, since the first studies there is an attempt to explain the structure and relate it to the unique environmental conditions, which was detailed in the introduction of this work, helping to give a broader significance to the structure.
Studying the so called xeromorphic features of three leaves,  concluded that they could be explained by the soil oligotrophic conditions, given raise to the theory of oligotrophic scleromorphism: the mineral elements deficiency would be the main responsible for the plant characteristics, by limiting its grow; the carbohydrate accumulation is then converted in deposits of thick cuticle, thicker cell walls, wax deposits over the epidermis and other scleromorphic features. High level of aluminum in Cerrado soils, another cause for the oligotrophic scleromorphism  is considered the main responsible for the acidity of Cerrado soils . Through the study of eleven Cerrado plants,  it was indicated the constant presence of fungi over its leaves, mostly on species without epicuticular wax, and connected this outermost layer over the cuticle layer to environmental adaptation, as protection against any fungus hypha.
Sclerenchymatous elements, fibers and sclereids are distinctive structural features in vegetative organs of Cerrado plants, and the presence of gelatinous fibers is frequent, associated or not with the tension wood; besides, it is also constant the impregnation of silica and siliceous bodies, not only in Poaceae and Cyperaceae species, but also in leaf and stem epidermis, roots and xylopodium of
Amaranthaceae family is considered a good representative of the herbs and subshrubs of Cerrado due to its morphology and adaptations that promote survival in adverse conditions (drought and fire), such as tuberous or woody roots, xylopodium, herbaceous or subshrub habit, dense pubescence in aerial portions, senescence of shoots and leaves during the driest season, dependence on rain or fire to re-sprout and/or flowering, fruiting followed by wind dispersion, thick cuticle on epidermis and C4 photosynthetic metabolism [37, 47-48]. The knowledge of the reproductive structures in Amaranthaceae Brazilian species is mostly restricted to the obtained during floristic survey and with taxonomic purpose, with few additional studies of reproductive structures, such as , who studied the flower vascular pattern in
In this section, some morphological, histological or cellular aspects of reproductive and vegetative (aerial and underground) organs will be exemplified, discussing the aspects related to the environment where these plants grow and survive and to the function in the plant species, whenever possible.
3.1. Reproductive organs — Flower, fruits and seeds
Amaranthaceae flowers are generally small and densely clustered in terminal or axillary inflorescences (figure 1), pollinated by the wind or by insects, with self-pollinating or outcrossing . Due to the hairy perianth, small and dry fruits or seeds, the dispersion is usually done by wind or water . In some genus, small seeds fall from the parent plant and germinate only when the site is again disturbed; seeds can be, also, eaten and dispersed by browsing animals .
Brazilian species of
In  wind dispersal of fruits in species which occur in Cerrado regions that were affected by fires, mostly
Amaranthaceae species are well adapted to Cerrado environment and some species display different strategies to survive during the markedly seasonal climate of the Cerrado Biome . Using only data obtained about perennial species, an interesting case is the aerial life cycle of
As an agent of perturbation in the vegetation of Cerrado, fire can produce variable effects in the flowering and fruiting patterns: whilst flowering is more intense in the herbaceous layer after a fire breaks out, the same phenophases are not affected in trees and shrubs . A thicker pericarp in dry fruits may provide greater protection for seeds, acting as a barrier against high external temperatures, such as in
Would be necessary more research in order to understand not only the structures of reproductive organs, but also describe the relation among flowers and its pollinators in Cerrado species and to understand the phenology of the species, which have different strategies to survive natural and eventual events, since dropping leaves during the flowering/fruiting phase, recycling all aerial parts after completing the fruiting phase, among others.
3.2. Vegetative structures of Amaranthaceae and Melastomataceae species
During the study of Brazilian Amaranthaceae species some morphological characteristics stood out in Cerrado species: well developed subterranean systems with xylopodium, high level of endemism and hairy stem, leaves, flowers and fruits [34, 37, 47, 56], which indicates adaptations of these plants to the environment. Xeromorphy and scleromorphy are common features in leaves of Cerrado species . Although the two terms describe similar morphology results, a xeromorphic plant is adapted to withstand drought and a scleromorphic plant is the result of other limiting factors to its growth instead of water, for instance a restricted nutrient intake  or aluminum toxicity . Some aspects of the plants can be genetically determined, developed as a selective advantage, such as the development of xylopodia in
Scleromorphism is precocious in all organs, especially the vegetative ones , which is why the most aimed organs to study structure are leaves, stem and roots, although the identification of a plant is usually obtained by the study of its reproductive organs. Field observations, morphological, anatomical and cellular data on aerial structures of Amaranthaceae and Melastomataceae species will be emphasized in order to improve the understanding of the surviving strategies used by some species of these families [35, 47, 61].
3.2.1. Leaf structure
Leaf anatomical traits are useful to infer adaptations to a specific environment [63-64] and are good predictors of performance  because of their common and strong relationships with functional parameters such as photosynthesis, leaf nutrient content and radial growth [66-69]. Studies with
Plants of different physiognomy of Cerrado showed that leaves are hypostomatic in most of the species, whilst there are also amphistomatic species [61, 71-73]. Stomata only on the abaxial surface are an advantageous trait for plants on low relative humidity and high temperature environment because it could reduce the loss of water vapour as the temperature on the abaxial side of the leaf is lower [74-75]. On the other hand, stomata on both surfaces makes it easier the intercellular diffusion of CO2 in mesophyll of thicker leaves  and amphistomatic leaves are characteristics of plants living in high-light environments and with high photosynthetic capacity . The same species can display stomata on both or only on one leaf surface in response to the light intensity under which they are grown, which can be related with leaf thickness, photosynthetic capacity and maximum stomatal conductance . Leaves of the same species which were grown on high-light environment can be amphistomatous, thicker and with higher rates of photosynthesis, stomatal conductance for CO2 uptake and loss of water vapour, whilst leaves of plants grown under low-light intensity are hypostomatous and show lower values for the same variables [74-76], demonstrating the plasticity of this feature and its influence on the hydric balance and gas exchange of the plants.
Emergences are structures of mixed protoderm and ground meristem origin, and are generally found in Melastomataceae leaves (figure 4). These structures are related with the vascular system and ultrastructural and histochemical analyses of the cell walls revealed micro channels permeable to water and nutrients, indicating that these structures are related with the transport of substances and may absorb or exude solutions [61, 79-80].
Phenolic compounds are regarded as protective against the incidence of UV-B radiation and could act as filters or antioxidants [81-84]. These secondary metabolites are also considered inhibitors of herbivory which, along with radiation, function as a stimulator in the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds . Phenolic compounds are very common in leaves of Cerrado plants of diverse physiognomy such as palm swamp, a flooded and open soil, in a dry forest on limestone outcrops or in open areas of Cerrado [26, 61, 73], where the leaves are exposed to high irradiance and high herbivory or fungi infection.
Although the photosynthesis is highly dependent on structural and ultrastructural coordination in leaves, the environment is responsible for the relative abundance of a determined subtype of the C4 pathway . The C4 photosynthesis pathway evolved in a great diversity of Kranz anatomy forms, biochemical routes and dimorphism of chloroplast ultrastructure [87-89] and is broadly dispersed among Angiospermae plants, including in the Amaranthaceae family [90-91].
The parenchyma bundle sheath and the mesophyll cell arrangement are the most usual anatomic pattern to determine the C4 photosynthesis pathway . However, the high degree of evolutionary convergence does not guarantee a unique pattern at biochemical or cellular and subcellular levels . The structural type of leaves (Kranz or non-Kranz), the chloroplasts position, the absence or presence of stacked disks (grana) in the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts and the number of mitochondria are important characteristics to know the photosynthetic metabolism of a plant species [89, 93]. At ultrastructural level, number and concentration of chloroplasts, mitochondria and peroxisomes in the bundle sheath cells are the most reliable criteria to determine the photosynthetic capacity of a plant . However, recent studies showed that the C4 photosynthesis can operate by dimorphic chloroplasts located in different regions of the same cell, as demonstrated in
Since the first works, leaf anatomical studies done in Brazilian Amaranthaceae species showed a well-developed vascular bundle in
Leaves of 13 Amaranthaceae species-
If the evolution of C4 metabolism is associated to the weather and ecological disturbance, is it possible to link some structural changes in leaves of Cerrado plant species to these evolution factors? The evolution of C4 metabolism in these Amaranthaceae species can be related to the development of amphistomatic leaves, associated with increased leaf thickness, thicker bundle sheath cell walls, fast lifespan of the aerial system and well-developed gemmiferous underground system as adaptation to an open shinny environment with seasonal rain and oligotrophic acid soil, at least partially. Species’ survival in adverse environments can be achieved by the operation of C4 photosynthesis and carbon accumulation , which is associated with high photosynthesis rate ; the accumulated carbon is stored and protected in the underground organs, explaining the energy source to re-sprout of Cerrado species. Although in  trichomes are believed to affect the gas exchange and leaf temperature, reducing the light incidence,
Large plastoglobuli were found in chloroplasts
Leaf surfaces of some Cerrado species of the genus
There is much work to be done in order to understand all aspects connected to leaf function in Cerrado plants, because more than been the primary photosynthetic organ which produce carbohydrate for the plant, leaves also give place to biotic interactions (it is common to find fungi or insects larvae in leaves) which can affect the plant life, including the onset of the production of complexes chemical compounds of interest because of its biologic activity (alkaloids, tannins or other phenolic compounds, sterols, saponin).
3.2.2. Root and stem structure
Melastomataceae species are found in several physiognomies in the Cerrado, from well drained to periodically or permanently flooded soils , displaying anatomical features which give them the ability of survive in different environments. Species of the palm swamps with periodically flooded soils produce an aerenchymatous tissue in roots and stem during the primary and secondary growth . During the primary growth of root and stem the tissue is a schyizolisigenous aerenchyma and schyzogen aerenchyma, respectively. During the secondary growth, root and stem develop phellogen from division of pericicle cells, deriving two cells types, one with square or rectangular shape (compact cells positive for suberin in histochemical test under light microscopy) and another cell with “T” shape (negative for suberin), which are disposed with intercellular spaces, naming the tissue aerenchymatous polyderm. The polyderm of the same organ and species found in well drained soils or emerged in the flooded soils does not have this aerenchymatous aspect . According to , these intercellular spaces are filled of gases and longitudinally interconnected emerged parts with immersed parts, providing a low resistance way which facilitates internal diffusion of these gases at long distances throughout the organs of the plant. Although the epidermic cell walls and cuticle of primary roots generally are thin [63, 118], any species show thickness of external periclinal and anticlinal walls of epidermic cells in plants submitted to flooding in palm swamps . This thickness could provide protection against adverse conditions near to root surface in the flooded soils .
Gelatinous fibers are different of other sclerenchyma fibers because they have a cellulosic thickening in the inner cell walls (figure 9) which, due to artifact of manufacturing of the blade, disconnects from lignified cell walls and stands out . The most accurate way to observe the gelatinous fibers is the color technique using dyes that differs lignin of cellulose. For example, acid floroglucine will stain only the external layer of wall where there is lignin and safranine-fast green, a double staining, that will stain red the lignified wall and green the gelatinous layer, indicating presence of cellulose . This layer is also called mucilaginous layer or “G” layer and generally occurs in tension wood and underground organs [23, 122-123]. Gelatinous fibers are very common in the Cerrado plants and they usually appear associated with the secondary xylem of stem, mainly in the initial layers of the growth ring [120, 124] but also may appear on other organs such as petiole and raquis of leaves . Generally, the mucilaginous aspect of “G” layer is linked to the ability of aggregate water because the structure is highly hygroscopic .
In Amaranthaceae species it is common to find a secondary thickening formed by a series of vascular cambia arising successively farther outward from the center of the stem, each producing xylem toward the inside and phloem toward the outside – an anomalous secondary thickening [125-126].
Preliminary study of
Although the Raunkiaer system  is widely used to classify the life form of plants based on the level of protection of budding structures, new ecological classifications were proposed in Brazil due to the diversity of the subterranean systems found in our flora . The first researcher to use the term “xylopodium” , around the year of 1900, described a lignified structure responsible for the regeneration of the aerial parts of a plant, during his studies of the ecology on open fields of Rio Grande do Sul State, in Brazil. Around the year of 1908,  another researcher noticed the same structure in Lagoa Santa plants (in Minas Gerais State), but did not attempt to define it. Since then, all the studies trying to understand this organ were concentrated in Cerrado plants .
Studying plants with xylopodium in São Paulo State,  author concluded that the superficial portion of the subterranean system, which originates the first aerial sprouts after burning, is a small subterranean stem – and sometimes is difficult to understand where the stem finishes and where the root starts. Naturally, the subsequent studies were focused in understanding the ontogenesis and the environment were these plants grow. Another study  determined that the xylopodium can be formed by the tuberous growth of the primary root near the soil or by the tuberous growth of the hypocotyl; the first one is due to a disturbed environment which prevents the plant to grow naturally (like in
In , soboles are indicated as common feature in Cerrado plants, an underground horizontal stem which grow out as an erect plant . Sobole of
In this study  are described
The underground system is very important in Cerrado plants, being linked not only to the anchorage, support and water absorption, but also to carbohydrates and water storage and to vegetative reproduction [23, 138]. This Biome is subject to fires since remote ages, which could be caused by electrical discharge or by the primitive men as a strategy to hunt and, most recently, in order to open areas to grow crops ; in experimental burned Cerrado areas, the surface temperature is about 74 ºC but, under the soil, heating is drastic not so high, varying from 55 ºC one centimeter below and reaching only few degrees at 5 cm under the surface. Certain savannah species are ephemeral but most of Brazilian Cerrado´s species are perennial . Probably, the temperature difference during the fire can allow underground organs to survive, although the aerial parts are burned out; adding to this the budding characteristic of the xylopodium, soboles and gemmiferous roots, the well-developed underground organs of Cerrado´s species can explain the prevailing perennial habit.
The underground organ of
4. Retrospective and perspectives about Cerrado knowledge and structural studies
Much of the actual knowledge about the Brazilian savannah or Cerrado Biome and its vegetation is derived from a group of researchers who shared their point of views in a series of Symposia, organized initially by them in order to gather efforts and develop multidisciplinary research in networks, mostly by initiative of teachers of USP – the São Paulo University , who also republished in Portuguese some very important works done by the first foreign researchers [10-11, 132]. The first Symposium was realized in 1962, in São Paulo city: the “
From the year 1975 on, the federal government created a set of programs to speed up the development of federal States in the center of the Cerrado Biome (Goiás, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso and Federal District) through financial aid for the construction of roads, schools and warehouses, funding agricultural research, providing technical assistance to incorporation of new areas into the production process and encouraging the use of limestone and phosphate to correct the soil pH, among others . More than that, Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research – EMBRAPA – a state-owned company affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, created its unit Embrapa Cerrados (CPAC) with the aim of developing agricultural systems viable to the Cerrado Biome and to give technical support to farmers. So, from the fourth Symposium on, realized in 1976, these events were done in Brasília, with the incentive of Embrapa Cerrados; collecting important data for agricultural development, all the work done in this event was of great value to improve the newly approved policy of the Program for Development of Cerrados .
According to , all the information gathered wasn´t still enough to support the region development, mostly because they were generalized. Among other problems , there were: irregular distribution of rain (a challenge to grow crops), the soils low level of fertility, inadequate methods used to cultivate soils leading to soil exhaustion, incidence of illness in monotypic crops and few knowledge about environmental, economic and social peculiarities of the core region of the Cerrado Biome. Embrapa Cerrado leaded the development of networks with institutes, universities, other Embrapa units and state companies to obtain systematic data on every field of interest to understand and complete the knowledge gaps in order fulfill its own mission. The knowledge gained through political, technical and economic focus, transferred as technical support to the farmers, created a scale gain which benefited all the participants; the technology incorporated by the farmers implicated in rapid increase of cultivated area , at a speed that is not currently possible to maintain without a huge loss of biodiversity.
In 1979 the Symposium theme was “Cerrado: use and management” and in 1982 it was the begging of the international comprisement of the event, which was themed “Savannah: food and energy” and shared the concerns in the use of this kind of environment around the world . In 1989, the seventh Symposium was done in order to gather data on the increasing efficiency to produce crops and, in 1996, the VIII National Symposium and the I International Symposium were done in a year where the cultivated area in Cerrado Biome was four times more efficient, during the onset of environmental damages such as soil degradation, weed spreading and pests; from then to now, the rational usage of savannah areas is the main concern [149-150].
In 2006 , the Cerrado region contributed to 33% of the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product, employing around 40% of the labor force. So, in 2008 the theme “Challenges and strategies for the equilibrium between society, agribusiness and natural resources”  was chosen to delineate the main discussions of the IX National Symposium of Cerrado and the II International Symposium of Tropical Savannas; in the third chapter  there is a review, in English, about the importance of savannah environments to the global climate change, emphasizing the distribution of this kind of environment in the world, not only in tropical regions of Africa, South America, Asia and Pacific, but also in temperate climate regions of North America (prairies) and derived savannahs in Europe.
According to  tropical savannahs are characterized by physiognomies with trees and shrubs and abundance of herbs from Poaceae and Cyperaceae families over dystrophic and sandy soils under a climate with seasonal rainfall. The predominance of bushes and trees over grasses depends on the soil fertility and fire as a natural or anthropomorphic phenomenon, among other environmental characteristics . However, savannah flora presents differences: whilst Australian and African savannahs have more deciduous species among bushes and trees, evergreen species are the main representatives of these groups in Brazilian savannah [151-152]. African species can close leaf stomata very rapidly, but this is not the rule for Brazilian species, although there are some exceptions; this characteristic and the deciduousness can be linked to the shallow root system of African species . Similar to the subterranean organs of Brazilian species earlier cited in this chapter, Australian savannah species develop lignotubers [153-154] with regenerative and storage functions which allows the resprout after fire. Tropical savannahs are considered more suitable to intensive grain cropping and livestock production, but it is necessary to ponder the need of food production and give value to the ecosystem services of this environment, as the maintenance of fresh water resources and moderation of the Carbon cycle, in order to create another income source for farmers  over preserved land.
Although there is a lot of data obtained already for Cerrado species, due to the research network which leaded to the creation of Embrapa Cerrados, and later by the increase of the number and quality of the networks created by Embrapa itself and by other Federal Government Agencies policies (as the Milenium Institutes Program, the National Institutes for Science and Technology-INCT Program and the Long-Term Ecological Research Program – PELD, from CNPq), some basic structural studies are still needed to improve the knowledge about the huge diversity of Cerrado´s species (plants, fungi and fauna), preferably multidisciplinary ones, ranging from ecology, morphology and taxonomy to the anatomy and cell biology of species. The structural knowledge is the basis to further development of applied studies (preservation, investigation of pharmacological properties and others). For example, histochemical investigation in plants can help taxonomy [155-156] and the establishment of patterns for quality control of drugs or micro-scale identification of the potential origin of pharmacological properties in Folk medicinal plants, but it is necessary special preparation and fresh material at your disposal . Mostly because of the time consuming and the high cost of pharmacological and pharmaceutical studies, in Brazil there are a great amount of plants used by the population as medicinal [144-147] without almost any scientific study to confirm it.
Since the high humidity and intense heat of the Cerrado´s rainy season favours the development of fungal hyphae on leaf surfaces, including on the Amaranthaceae species
These and other fields of study demands the basic studies of taxonomy, morphology and anatomy in order to be properly interpreted and, later, lead to application not only on the increase of crop production, but also in the conservation of the few areas of the Cerrado Biome which are still preserved, mostly due to some Conservation Units created to integrate the Conservation Unit System of Brazil. Goiás State is in the center region of the Cerrado Biome and only 15% of the natural savannah was protected in 2002 ; originally, savannah vegetation represented 50% of the State territory, and the author claims that the remaining species biodiversity will only be found in Conservation Units about a hundred years from now.
According to  the apparent dichotomy between food production and preservation of the natural vegetation is not impossible, because Brazil has already cleared enough area to support all food, fiber and bioenergy production that is necessary to meet not only the own country needs but also the global market. So, maybe it is time to set a new policy not only for agricultural and livestock development, but also to improve infrastructure and the efficiency of these activities and for encouraging and expanding the Conservation Unit System in order to better preserve the huge biodiversity of flora and fauna and its direct and indirect benefices to Brazilian people, now and through the significant amount of research that is still to be done.
CAPES, CNPq, FAPDF, FINEP
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