Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Summary A novel stable isotope labelling procedure for microbeam analysis was developed to monitor exchange and uptake of nutrients, primarily Mg, K and Ca, by root tips at the cellular level. Initially root samples were analysed from 2-year-old spruce trees, originating both from a nursery and from a polluted forest site, (1) for the cortex cell wall accessibility and nutrient binding properties, (2) for the influence of low pH and elevated aluminum concentrations on Ca binding to cortex cell walls, and (3) for long-range transport into the secondary xylem, proximal to the labelled root tip. In nursery control plants, Ca is localized mainly in the apoplast of the cortex. Exchange of Mg, K, Ca in the cell wall of the cortex and the primary xylem with label in incubation solutions is almost completed to equilibration within 30 min. In the secondary xylem we could detect Mg, K, and Ca from labelling solutions in minute amounts after 30 min, and as a major fraction after 48 h. This indicates that stable isotope labelling can be used to study both ion-exchange properties of the apoplast and long-range transport. Slight acidification of the labelling incubation media to pH 4.5 reduced Ca binding to the cortex cell walls slightly, but acidification to the extreme value of pH 2.3 reduced binding 41%. A combination of pH 4.5 and increased free aluminum reduced the binding by 83%. In a preliminary attempt to analyse the nutrient binding capability of the root-tip apoplast from pollution affected trees, we exposed fine roots of 2-year-old spruce from an acidified and polluted site showing typical low levels of Ca and Mg in the cortical cell walls to Ca-enriched media. Under these conditions the Ca content of cortex cell walls doubled upon incubation at pH 4.7, reaching 40% of the total binding capacity of our nursey control plants.
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