[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondria in the oxidizing environment of the maize (Zea mays) root quiescent center (QC) are altered in function, but otherwise structurally normal. Compared to mitochondria in the adjacent, rapidly dividing cells of the proximal root tissues, mitochondria in the QC show marked reductions in the activities of tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes. Pyruvate dehydrogenase activity was not detected in the QC. Use of several mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) sensing probes indicated a depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane in the QC, which suggests a reduction in the capacity of QC mitochondria to generate ATP and NADH. We postulate that modifications of mitochondrial function are central to the establishment and maintenance of the QC.