Journal Article

Fluid ionic composition influences hydraulic conductance of xylem conduits

W. van Ieperen, U. van Meeteren and H. van Gelder

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Volume 51, issue 345, pages 769-776
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Fluid ionic composition influences hydraulic conductance of xylem conduits

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The direct effect of fluid composition on xylem hydraulic conductance is investigated in excised stem segments of chrysanthemum (Dendranthema× grandiflorum Tzvelev cv. Cassa) plants. Dynamic changes in hydraulic conductance are accurately measured at 30 s intervals before and after modifications of the composition of the standard fluid (deionized water). It is investigated whether osmotic properties of the flowing solution influence overall hydraulic conductance by affecting the hydraulic conductance of vessel‐to‐vessel pit membranes, as has previously been suggested. Various iso‐osmotic salt solutions (20 mOsm kg−1) of different composition raised the hydraulic conductance of 20 cm long stem segments approximately 5–8% compared to deionized water. In contrast, carbohydrate solutions with similar osmotic strength and pH did not cause any change in hydraulic conductance. KCl solutions that greatly differed in osmotic strength all increased hydraulic conductance, but the response was not correlated with the osmotic strength of the solution. Increasing the number of vessels that were open from one cut end to the other by shortening the stem segments greatly increased the hydraulic conductance response. Changing from deionized water to a salt solution caused an immediate increase in hydraulic conductance, while a shift back to deionized water resulted in a slow decline. This decline lasted longer when the salt solution contained divalent cations compared to monovalent cations. It is concluded that the presence of cations and not the osmotic strength in the flowing solution influenced the hydraulic conductance. The phenomenon is not caused by the vessel‐to‐vessel pit membranes, which in fact suppressed the effect, due to their large contribution to the overall resistance to water flow.

Keywords: Xylem vessel; resistance; water flow; salts.

Journal Article.  4734 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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