Contrasting dynamics of water and mineral nutrients in stems shown by stable isotope tracers and cryo-SIMS.

Central Division of Analytical Chemistry, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Leo Brandt Strasse, 52425 Jülich, Germany.
Plant Cell and Environment (Impact Factor: 5.91). 04/2010; 33(8):1393-407. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2010.02157.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lateral exchange of water and nutrients between xylem and surrounding tissues helps to de-couple uptake from utilization in all parts of a plant. We studied the dynamics of these exchanges, using stable isotope tracers for water (H(2)(18)O), magnesium ((26)Mg), potassium ((41)K) and calcium ((44)Ca) delivered via a cut stem for various periods to the transpiration stream of bean shoots (Phaseolus vulgaris cv. Fardenlosa Shiny). Tracers were subsequently mapped in stem cross-sections with cryo-secondary ion mass spectrometry. The water tracer equilibrated within minutes across the entire cross-section. In contrast, the nutrient tracers showed a very heterogeneous exchange between xylem vessels and the different stem tissues, even after 4 h. Dynamics of nutrients in the tissues revealed a fast and extensive exchange of nutrients in the xylem parenchyma, with, for example, calcium being completely replaced by tracer in less than 5 min. Dilution of potassium tracer during its 30 s transit in xylem sap through the stem showed that potassium concentration was up-regulated over many hours, to the extent that some of it was probably supplied by phloem recirculation from the shoot.

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