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Keywords:

  • adventitious roots;
  • aerenchyma;
  • exodermis;
  • hypodermis;
  • O2 permeability;
  • permeability barrier;
  • radial O2 loss (ROL);
  • waterlogging tolerance;
  • wetland plant

Summary

  • • 
    The subapical regions of wetland plant roots can develop a barrier to radial O2 loss (ROL), but barrier resistance has rarely been quantified in terms of its O2 diffusivity.
  • • 
    Barrier resistance in adventitious roots of the waterlogging-tolerant Hordeum marinum was assessed from measurements of ROL using cylindrical platinum electrodes while either varying shoot O2 partial pressures or cooling the rooting medium. Anatomical features were examined using fluorescence microscopy.
  • • 
    When grown in stagnant agar nutrient solution, a barrier to ROL was induced over the basal half of 100–120-mm-long roots. Autofluorescence in hypodermal cell walls indicated that putative suberin deposition was coincident with barrier expression. Root cooling revealed a significant respiratory component in barrier resistance. Eliminating the respiration effect by manipulating shoot O2 partial pressures revealed an O2 diffusivity for the barrier of 5.96 × 10−7 cm2 s−1, 96% less than that at the apex, which was ≥ 1.59 × 10−5 cm2 s−1.
  • • 
    It is concluded that the ROL barrier is a manifestation of two components acting synergistically: a physical resistance caused principally by secondary cell-wall deposits in the outer hypodermal layer; and respiratory activity in the hypodermal/epidermal layers; with physical resistance being the dominant component.