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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 31;98(16):9443-7.

Transpiration, a prerequisite for long-distance transport of minerals in plants?

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  • 1Institute of Cell Biology and Plant Physiology, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany.


The major "benefit" alleged to accrue from transpiration (the evaporative loss of water from plant surfaces) is that it is essential for the long-distance transport of mineral ions, but the possible interrelation between these two processes has rarely been tested. Transpiration was experimentally dissociated from mineral supply by growing sunflowers (Helianthus anuus) in hydroculture and providing mineral nutrients only during the nights. These plants grew as well as a control group that received nutrients only during the day and transpired 12-15 times more water during the exposure period. It thus appears that convective water transport in the xylem, brought about by root pressure and the resultant guttation, "growth water," and Münch's phloem counterflow is in itself sufficient for long-distance mineral supply and that transpiration is not required for this function.

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