Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 247–255 | Cite as

Ecophysiological characterization of carnivorous plant roots: Oxygen fluxes, respiration, and water exudation

  • L. Adamec


Various ecophysiological investigations on carnivorous plants in wet soils are presented. Radial oxygen loss from roots of Droseraceae to an anoxic medium was relatively low 0.02 – 0.07 μmol(O2) m− 2 s−1 in the apical zone, while values of about one order of magnitude greater were found in both Sarracenia rubra roots and Genlisea violacea traps. Aerobic respiration rates were in the range of 1.6 − 5.6 μmol kg−1 (f.m.) s−1 for apical root segments of seven carnivorous plant species and 0.4 − 1.1 μmol kg−1 (f.m.) s−1 for Genlisea traps. The rate of anaerobic fermentation in roots of two Drosera species was only 5 − 14 % of the aerobic respiration. Neither 0.2 mM NaN3 nor 0.5 mM KCN influenced respiration rate of roots and traps. In all species, the proportion of cyanide-resistant respiration was high and amounted to 65 − 89 % of the total value. Mean rates of water exudation from excised roots of 12 species ranged between 0.4 − 336 mm 3 kg−1 (f.m.) s−1 with the highest values being found in the Droseraceae. Exudation from roots was insensitive to respiration inhibitors. No significant difference was found between exudation rates from roots growing in situ in anoxic soil and those kept in an aerated aquatic medium. Carnivorous plant roots appear to be physiologically very active and well adapted to endure permanent soil anoxia.

Additional key words

aerobic respiration anaerobic CO2 release CN-resistant respiration Dionea Drosera Genlisea Sarracenia soil anoxia 



cyanide-resistant respiration


dry mass


fresh mass


fresh-mass based water exudation


root-length based water exudation


dark respiration rate


relative humidity


radial oxygen loss


salicylhydroxamic acid


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Adamec
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Plant Ecology, Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicTřeboňCzech Republic

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