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Water path from root to xylem

Submitted by mpetracchi on Tue, 11/12/2019 - 22:12

Water is one of the fundamental molecules plants, and all organisms for that matter, need in order to survive. Basic photosynthesis, turgor pressure, and many other processes would not be possible without water. So how is water brought into the plant? Plants uptake their nutrients through root systems that tunnel in the soils below. Some plants branch out more than others, however, all of them have thousands of small single-celled root hairs extending into the soil. These root hairs increase the surface area of the roots and provide pathways for nutrients to diffuse into. One of these being water molecules. Once in the root, there are three ways water can reach the xylem, the water transport cells. First is through the apoplast. This area is the space in between cells that cannot regulate what passes by. Eventually, this pathway meets a lignin barrier separating it from the xylem where it must enter a cell in order to pass. The second and third ways are through channels within cells. These are either by aquaporins or transmembrane channels that water molecules can pass through. Eventually, water will again reach the lignin barrier which it can pass without much extra movement as it is already in the cell.