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Questions and Concerns

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Thomas Sanchez
Thomas Sanchez

Root



In vascular plants, the roots are the organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster.[1] They are most often below the surface of the soil, but roots can also be aerial or aerating, that is, growing up above the ground or especially above water.




root



Root morphology is divided into four zones: the root cap, the apical meristem, the elongation zone, and the hair.[3] The root cap of new roots helps the root penetrate the soil. These root caps are sloughed off as the root goes deeper creating a slimy surface that provides lubrication. The apical meristem behind the root cap produces new root cells that elongate. Then, root hairs form that absorb water and mineral nutrients from the soil.[4] The first root in seed producing plants is the radicle, which expands from the plant embryo after seed germination.


When dissected, the arrangement of the cells in a root is root hair, epidermis, epiblem, cortex, endodermis, pericycle and, lastly, the vascular tissue in the centre of a root to transport the water absorbed by the root to other places of the plant.[clarification needed]


Perhaps the most striking characteristic of roots that distinguishes them from other plant organs such as stem-branches and leaves is that roots have an endogenous[5] origin, i.e., they originate and develop from an inner layer of the mother axis, such as pericycle.[6] In contrast, stem-branches and leaves are exogenous, i.e., they start to develop from the cortex, an outer layer.


In response to the concentration of nutrients, roots also synthesise cytokinin, which acts as a signal as to how fast the shoots can grow. Roots often function in storage of food and nutrients. The roots of most vascular plant species enter into symbiosis with certain fungi to form mycorrhizae, and a large range of other organisms including bacteria also closely associate with roots.[7]


In its simplest form, the term root system architecture (RSA) refers to the spatial configuration of a plant's root system. This system can be extremely complex and is dependent upon multiple factors such as the species of the plant itself, the composition of the soil and the availability of nutrients.[8] Root architecture plays the important role of providing a secure supply of nutrients and water as well as anchorage and support.


The configuration of root systems serves to structurally support the plant, compete with other plants and for uptake of nutrients from the soil.[9] Roots grow to specific conditions, which, if changed, can impede a plant's growth. For example, a root system that has developed in dry soil may not be as efficient in flooded soil, yet plants are able to adapt to other changes in the environment, such as seasonal changes.[9]


All components of the root architecture are regulated through a complex interaction between genetic responses and responses due to environmental stimuli. These developmental stimuli are categorised as intrinsic, the genetic and nutritional influences, or extrinsic, the environmental influences and are interpreted by signal transduction pathways.[11]


Extrinsic factors affecting root architecture include gravity, light exposure, water and oxygen, as well as the availability or lack of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, aluminium and sodium chloride. The main hormones (intrinsic stimuli) and respective pathways responsible for root architecture development include:


Early root growth is one of the functions of the apical meristem located near the tip of the root. The meristem cells more or less continuously divide, producing more meristem, root cap cells (these are sacrificed to protect the meristem), and undifferentiated root cells. The latter become the primary tissues of the root, first undergoing elongation, a process that pushes the root tip forward in the growing medium. Gradually these cells differentiate and mature into specialized cells of the root tissues.[12]


Growth from apical meristems is known as primary growth, which encompasses all elongation.Secondary growth encompasses all growth in diameter, a major component of woody plant tissues and many nonwoody plants. For example, storage roots of sweet potato have secondary growth but are not woody. Secondary growth occurs at the lateral meristems, namely the vascular cambium and cork cambium. The former forms secondary xylem and secondary phloem, while the latter forms the periderm.


In plants with secondary growth, the vascular cambium, originating between the xylem and the phloem, forms a cylinder of tissue along the stem and root.[citation needed] The vascular cambium forms new cells on both the inside and outside of the cambium cylinder, with those on the inside forming secondary xylem cells, and those on the outside forming secondary phloem cells. As secondary xylem accumulates, the "girth" (lateral dimensions) of the stem and root increases. As a result, tissues beyond the secondary phloem including the epidermis and cortex, in many cases tend to be pushed outward and are eventually "sloughed off" (shed).[citation needed]


At this point, the cork cambium begins to form the periderm, consisting of protective cork cells. The walls of cork cells contains suberin thickenings, which is an extra cellular complex biopolymer.[13] The suberin thickenings functions by providing a physical barrier, protection against pathogens and by preventing water loss from the surrounding tissues. In addition, it also aids the process of wound healing in plants.[14] It is also postulated that suberin could be a component of the apoplastic barrier (present at the outer cell layers of roots) which prevents toxic compounds from entering the root and reduces radial oxygen loss (ROL) from the aerenchyma during waterlogging.[15] In roots, the cork cambium originates in the pericycle, a component of the vascular cylinder.[15]


The vascular cambium produces new layers of secondary xylem annually.[citation needed] The xylem vessels are dead at maturity (in some) but are responsible for most water transport through the vascular tissue in stems and roots.


Tree roots usually grow to three times the diameter of the branch spread, only half of which lie underneath the trunk and canopy. The roots from one side of a tree usually supply nutrients to the foliage on the same side. Some families however, such as Sapindaceae (the maple family), show no correlation between root location and where the root supplies nutrients on the plant.[16]


There is a correlation of roots using the process of plant perception to sense their physical environment to grow,[17] including the sensing of light,[18] and physical barriers. Plants also sense gravity and respond through auxin pathways,[19] resulting in gravitropism. Over time, roots can crack foundations, snap water lines, and lift sidewalks. Research has shown that roots have ability to recognize 'self' and 'non-self' roots in same soil environment.[20]


The correct environment of air, mineral nutrients and water directs plant roots to grow in any direction to meet the plant's needs. Roots will shy or shrink away from dry[21] or other poor soil conditions.


Gravitropism directs roots to grow downward at germination, the growth mechanism of plants that also causes the shoot to grow upward.[22]Different types of roots such as primary, seminal, lateral and crown are maintained at different gravitropic setpoint angles i.e. the direction in which they grow. Recent research show that root angle in cereal crops such as barley and wheat is regulated by a novel gene called Enhanced Gravitropism 1 (EGT1).[23]


In order to avoid shade, plants utilize a shade avoidance response. When a plant is under dense vegetation, the presence of other vegetation nearby will cause the plant to avoid lateral growth and experience an increase in upward shoot, as well as downward root growth. In order to escape shade, plants adjust their root architecture, most notably by decreasing the length and amount of lateral roots emerging from the primary root. Experimentation of mutant variants of Arabidopsis thaliana found that plants sense the Red to Far Red light ratio that enters the plant through photoreceptors known as phytochromes.[25] Nearby plant leaves will absorb red light and reflect far- red light which will cause the ratio red to far red light to lower. The phytochrome PhyA that senses this Red to Far Red light ratio is localized in both the root system as well as the shoot system of plants, but through knockout mutant experimentation, it was found that root localized PhyA does not sense the light ratio, whether directly or axially, that leads to changes in the lateral root architecture.[25] Research instead found that shoot localized PhyA is the phytochrome responsible for causing these architectural changes of the lateral root. Research has also found that phytochrome completes these architectural changes through the manipulation of auxin distribution in the root of the plant.[25] When a low enough Red to Far Red ratio is sensed by PhyA, the phyA in the shoot will be mostly in its active form.[26] In this form, PhyA stabilize the transcription factor HY5 causing it to no longer be degraded as it is when phyA is in its inactive form. This stabilized transcription factor is then able to be transported to the roots of the plant through the phloem, where it proceeds to induce its own transcription as a way to amplify its signal. In the roots of the plant HY5 functions to inhibit an auxin response factor known as ARF19, a response factor responsible for the translation of PIN3 and LAX3, two well known auxin transporting proteins.[26] Thus, through manipulation of ARF19, the level and activity of auxin transporters PIN3 and LAX3 is inhibited.[26] Once inhibited, auxin levels will be low in areas where lateral root emergence normally occurs, resulting in a failure for the plant to have the emergence of the lateral root primordium through the root pericycle. With this complex manipulation of Auxin transport in the roots, lateral root emergence will be inhibited in the roots and the root will instead elongate downwards, promoting vertical plant growth in an attempt to avoid shade.[25][26] 041b061a72


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