Uptake and ionic environment (including external pH)

  • Emanuel Epstein
Part of the Handbuch der Pflanzenphysiologie / Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (532, volume 2)


The preceding sections (IV A–E) have demonstrated that plant cells take up a variety of substances, and that there is a number of mechanisms whereby solutes may enter cells and tissues. A given type of solute may be capable of entering by more than one of the possible mechanisms. For example, inorganic ions may reach a certain fraction of the total volume of the cells or tissue by simple diffusion. Simultaneously, cation exchange may take place along electrochemical potential gradients because of the presence of immobile anions acting as cation exchange surfaces, resulting in the establishment of Donnan equilibria. And concomitantly, ions may be actively (non-osmotically) transported and concentrated within the cells. A given factor in the ionic environment will not be expected to affect uptake by these diverse mechanisms in parallel ways. In some instances, a certain factor in the ionic environment may increase uptake of some ion by one of these mechanisms, and greatly reduce the uptake of the same ion by another mechanism. In studies on the effects of the ionic environment on absorption it is therefore mandatory to discriminate between the various mechanisms of uptake, and to identify the particular mechanism through which a given ionic feature of the medium affects the absorption of the substance under investigation.


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© Springer-Verlag OHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1956

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  • Emanuel Epstein

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