Journal Article

Influence of a Weak DC Electric Field on Root Meristem Architecture

Wojciech Wawrecki and Beata Zagórska-Marek

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 100, issue 4, pages 791-796
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm164
Influence of a Weak DC Electric Field on Root Meristem Architecture

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Electric fields are an important environmental factor that can influence the development of plants organs. Such a field can either inhibit or stimulate root growth, and may also affect the direction of growth. Many developmental processes directly or indirectly depend upon the activity of the root apical meristem (RAM). The aim of this work was to examine the effects of a weak electric field on the organization of the RAM.

Methods

Roots of Zea mays seedlings, grown in liquid medium, were exposed to DC electric fields of different strengths from 0·5 to 1·5 V cm−1, with a frequency of 50 Hz, for 3 h. The roots were sampled for anatomical observation immediately after the treatment, and after 24 and 48 h of further undisturbed growth.

Key Results

DC fields of 1 and 1·5 V cm−1 resulted in noticeable changes in the cellular pattern of the RAM. The electric field activated the quiescent centre (QC): the cells of the QC penetrated the root cap junction, disturbing the organization of the closed meristem and changing it temporarily into the open type.

Conclusions

Even a weak electric field disturbs the pattern of cell divisions in plant root meristem. This in turn changes the global organization of the RAM. A field of slightly higher strength also damages root cap initials, terminating their division.

Keywords: Electric field; root apical meristem; quiescent centre; polar auxin transport; Zea mays

Journal Article.  3381 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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