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Plant Physiol. 1992 Oct;100(2):614-9.

Electric current precedes emergence of a lateral root in higher plants.

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  • 1Department of Electronics, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University 36, Fukuoka 812, Japan.


Stable electrochemical patterns appear spontaneously around roots of higher plants and are closely related to growth. An electric potential pattern accompanied by lateral root emergence was measured along the surface of the primary root of adzuki bean (Phaseolus angularis) over 21 h using a microelectrode manipulated by a newly developed apparatus. The electric potential became lower at the point where a lateral root emerged. This change preceded the emergence of the lateral root by about 10 h. A theory is presented for calculating two-dimensional patterns of electric potential and electric current density around the primary root (and a lateral root) using only data on the one-dimensional electric potential measured near the surface of the primary root. The development of the lateral root inside the primary root is associated with the influx of electric current of about 0.7 at the surface.

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