Water uptake by roots of Hordeum marinum: formation of a barrier to radial O2 loss does not affect root hydraulic conductivity.

Research paper by Alaina J AJ Garthwaite, Ernst E Steudle, Timothy D TD Colmer

Indexed on: 18 Jan '06Published on: 18 Jan '06Published in: Journal of experimental botany


The adventitious roots of Hordeum marinum grown in stagnant deoxygenated solution contain a barrier to radial O2 loss (ROL) in basal zones, whereas roots of plants grown in aerated solution do not. The present experiments assessed whether induction of the barrier to ROL influences root hydraulic conductivity (Lpr). Wheat (Triticum aestivum) was also studied since, like H. marinum, this species forms aerenchyma in stagnant conditions, but does not form a barrier to ROL. Plants were grown in either aerated or stagnant, deoxygenated nutrient solution for 21-28 d. Root-sleeving O2 electrodes were used to assess patterns of ROL along adventitious roots, and a root-pressure probe and a pressure chamber to measure Lpr for individual adventitious roots and whole root systems, respectively. Lpr, measured under a hydrostatic pressure gradient, was 1.8-fold higher for individual roots, and 5.6-fold higher for whole roots systems, in T. aestivum than H. marinum. However, there was no difference in Lpr between the two species when measured under an osmotic driving force, when water moved from cell to cell rather than apoplastically. Root-zone O2 treatments during growth had no effect on Lpr for either species (measured in aerobic solution). It is concluded that induction of the barrier to ROL in H. marinum did not significantly affect the hydraulic conductivity of either individual adventitious roots or of the whole root system.