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Keywords:

  • Daucus carota (carrot);
  • assimilate transport;
  • phloem;
  • cambium;
  • autoradiography

Axial and radial transport and the accumulation of photoassimilates in carrot taproot were studied using 14C labelling and autoradiography. Axial transport of the 14C labelled assimilates inside the taproot was rapid and occurred mainly in the young phloem found in rows radiating from the cambium. The radial transport of the assimilate inward (to cambium, xylem zone and pith) and outward (to phloem zone and periderm) from the conducting phloem was an order of magnitude slower than the longitudinal transport and was probably mainly diffusive. The cambial zone of the taproot presented a partial barrier in the inward path of the assimilate to the xylem zone. We suggest that this is due to the cambium comprising a strong sink for the assimilate on the basis that our previous work has shown that it contains very low concentrations of free sucrose. By contrast, a high accumulation of nonsoluble 14C was found in the cambium region in good agreement with the active growth of this zone. Autoradiography following the feeding of 14C labelled sugars to excised sections of taproot indicated that only a ring of cells at and/or just within the cambium take up sugars from the apoplast. This indicates that radial movement in the phloem and pith must be symplastic. An apoplastic step between phloem and xylem is possible. The rapid uptake of sugars from the apoplast at this point might represent a mechanism for keeping photoassimilates away from the transpiration stream and re-location back to the leaves.