Biomechanics of plant growth

These results paradigmatically demonstrate that organ growth represents a system’s property of the whole rather than a summation of growth responses of individual cells

P. Schopfer

2008

Scholarcy highlights

  • Growth of turgid cells, defined as an irreversible increase in cell volume and surface area, can be regarded as a physical process governed by the mechanical properties of the cell wall and the osmotic properties of the protoplast
  • This means selecting cells or organs composed of cells that enlarge without changing their differentiation state. It is most helpful if these research materials demonstrate growth by diffuse expansion in one dimension and respond to externally applied growth factors such as hormones or environmental cues, allowing the experimental manipulation of the growth process. These conditions are best met by excised parts of seedling stems or other cylindrical organs such as grass coleoptiles, which have been used extensively to study the forces and resistances governing cell and organ growth
  • An important result from such measurements is the observation that the turgor remains unchanged, or even decreases, if growth is induced by auxin while cell wall extensibility dramatically changes under these conditions
  • Possible reasons for inconsistent results are that different incubation conditions, growth period, and peeling efficiencies can have variable effects in these investigations. These results paradigmatically demonstrate that organ growth represents a system’s property of the whole rather than a summation of growth responses of individual cells
  • For physically analyzing the growth process leading to germination, the same mechanical and hydraulic parameters as in normal cell growth can be used, except that an additional force term and a water permeability term that cover the influences of the tissues restraining embryo expansion must be included

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