Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Waxy plant substance key for absorption of water, nutrients

26.05.2009
While proving a long-held theory that suberin blocks water and nutrient absorption in plants, a Purdue University scientist learned more about manipulating the substance to better feed plants.

It has long been believed that suberin, a waxy substance between some plant cells, acts as a barrier for the movement of water in a plant's roots.

David E. Salt, a professor of plant molecular physiology, discovered a mutant form of the plant Arabidopsis - enhanced suberin 1 or ESB1 - with twice as much suberin as wild varieties, giving him a way to test the theory. The results of Salt's study were published Friday (May 22) in the early online version of the journal PLoS Genetics.

Salt also discovered which pathways particular nutrients use to get into a plant's shoots based on suberin concentration. By adjusting the amount of suberin in roots, Salt said plants could be engineered to allow for easier absorption of beneficial nutrients.

"This is the first time that the dogma in the textbooks has been tested genetically. It's been known for a long time that this material exists in the cell, but there's been no genetic proof to show what it does," Salt said. "We now have another tool in our toolbox to manipulate how plants take up water and mineral nutrients."

Using the plant with twice the amount of suberin, Salt showed that the plant activated a defense mechanism to keep from wilting. Since suberin was restricting water absorption, the plant allowed less transpiration, or evaporation of water from the leaves.

To further prove the theory, Salt was able to cut shoots off the wild-type plants and graft them onto mutant roots, and vice versa. The nutrient compositions in the shoots changed, reflecting the effect suberin in the roots had on the plants' absorption ability.

"You put a mutant root onto a wild-type shoot and the elemental composition in the wild-type shoot starts to look like a mutant shoot," Salt said. "We saw the same thing with water loss."

Some nutrients use a symplastic route, moving through cells' cytoplasm to gain access to the plant. Others use an apoplastic route, moving through the outer cell walls. The suberin acts as a filter, blocking some water from passing through cell walls. The more suberin, the more difficult it is for nutrients to pass through the cell walls.

"Just like animals, plants want to select the things they take in," Salt said. "They want a certain amount of potassium or a certain amount of nitrogen. This allows them to choose how much they get."

In Salt's experiments, the plants with more suberin had less calcium, manganese and zinc in their leaves, meaning a significant amount of those nutrients pass apoplastically through the root. Sodium, sulfur, selenium, molybdenum and arsenic showed higher concentrations, meaning they are generally absorbed symplastically.

The plants with more suberin - which decreased transpiration - used the water they were able to absorb more efficiently. Salt said plants could be genetically engineered for specific amounts of suberin so they would more easily absorb beneficial nutrients and use less water in a more efficient manner.

The National Science Foundation funded Salt's research. The next step is to determine the role of the ESB1 gene in suberin biosynthesis.

Abstract on the research in this release is available at: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2009a/090522SaltSuberin.html

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

nachricht Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>