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Plant Physiol. Aug 1990; 93(4): 1405–1416.
PMCID: PMC1062687

Postphloem, Nonvascular Transfer in Citrus

Kinetics, Metabolism, and Sugar Gradients 1

Abstract

Postphloem, nonvascular assimilate transport occurs over an unusually long area in citrus fruit and thus facilitates investigation of this process relative to sugar entry into many sink structures. Labeled photosynthates moving into juice tissues of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) slowed dramatically after entering the postphloem transport path (parenchyma cells, narrow portions of segment epidermis, and hair-like, parenchymatous stalks of juice sacs). Kinetic, metabolic, and compositional data indicated that transfer through the nonvascular area was delayed many hours by temporary storage and/or equilibration with sugars in compartments along the postphloem path. Labeled assimilates were generally recovered as sucrose throughout the path, and extent of hexose formation enroute bore no apparent relationship to the assimilate transfer process. Even after 24 hours, radiolabel was restricted to discrete, highly localized areas directly between vascular bundles and juice sacs. Postphloem transfer occurred against an ascending sucrose concentration gradient in young fruit, whereas a descending gradient (favoring diffusion/cytoplasmic streaming) developed only later in maturation. Involvement of a postphloem bulk flow is complicated in the present instance by the extremely limited water loss from juice sacs either via transpiration or fluid backflow. Nonetheless, tissue expansion can account for a collective water inflow of at least 1.0 milliliter per day throughout the majority of juice sac development, thus providing a modest, but potentially important means of nonvascular solution flow. Overall, data indicate postphloem transfer (a) can follow highly localized paths through sizable nonvascular areas (up to 3.0 centimeters total), (b) appears to involve temporary storage and/or equilibration with compartmentalized sugars enroute, (c) can occur either against an overall up-hill sugar gradient (young tissues) or along a descending gradient (near full expansion), and (d) appears to involve at least some contribution by nonvascular mass flow accommodated by tissue expansion.

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Selected References

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