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Chapter 15

Long-Distance Transport

CHAPTER OUTLINE
Introduction
15.1 Overview of diffusive and convective transport in plants
15.2 Importance of channel dimensions in defining the transport properties of the apoplast and symplasm
15.3 Comparison of xylem and phloem transport
15.4 Transpirational water movement in the xylem
15.5 Symplasmic transport via plasmodesmata
15.6 Phloem transport
15.7 Intercellular transport of endogenous macromolecules

Donald B. Fisher

 

 

The vascular plant body is strongly differentiated at all levels of organization and contains many distinct cell types, tissues, and organs. To survive in a terrestrial habitat, plants must coordinate the assimilatory activities of two spatially distant but nutritionally interdependent regions: aerial shoots that harvest light energy and CO 2 , and subterranean roots that take up water and mineral nutrients. Although mechanical and spatial factors are also involved, the physiological requirements of this interdependence are met primarily by transport of materials throughout the plant body.
      The distinction between short-distance transport and long-distance transport is somewhat arbitrary. Long-distance transport via bulk flow in the vascular tissues is the basis of functional interaction between plant organs, and it is the principal topic of this chapter. However, I will also address short-distance, nonvascular transport in the tissues that surround the conducting cells because these tissues play a central role in controlling the movement of solutes and water into and out of the vasculature. At these shorter distances, diffusive transport becomes increasingly important.
      Many specialized tissues participate in the transport of nutrients and metabolites throughout the plant body. Some of the basic features of vegetative plant anatomy, with emphasis on the vascular system, are illustrated in Figure 15.1.


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