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J Exp Bot. 2001 Sep;52(362):1835-46.

Hydraulic conductivity of rice roots.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl Pflanzenökologie, Universität Bayreuth, Universitätsstrasse 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.


A pressure chamber and a root pressure probe technique have been used to measure hydraulic conductivities of rice roots (root Lp(r) per m(2) of root surface area). Young plants of two rice (Oryza sativa L.) varieties (an upland variety, cv. Azucena and a lowland variety, cv. IR64) were grown for 31-40 d in 12 h days with 500 micromol m(-2) s(-1) PAR and day/night temperatures of 27 degrees C and 22 degrees C. Root Lp(r) was measured under conditions of steady-state and transient water flow. Different growth conditions (hydroponic and aeroponic culture) did not cause visible differences in root anatomy in either variety. Values of root Lp(r) obtained from hydraulic (hydrostatic) and osmotic water flow were of the order of 10(-8) m s(-1) MPa(-1) and were similar when using the different techniques. In comparison with other herbaceous species, rice roots tended to have a higher hydraulic resistance of the roots per unit root surface area. The data suggest that the low overall hydraulic conductivity of rice roots is caused by the existence of apoplastic barriers in the outer root parts (exodermis and sclerenchymatous (fibre) tissue) and by a strongly developed endodermis rather than by the existence of aerenchyma. According to the composite transport model of the root, the ability to adapt to higher transpirational demands from the shoot should be limited for rice because there were minimal changes in root Lp(r) depending on whether hydrostatic or osmotic forces were acting. It is concluded that this may be one of the reasons why rice suffers from water shortage in the shoot even in flooded fields.

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