Iron plaques improve the oxygen supply to root meristems of the freshwater plant, Lobelia dortmanna

Authors

  • Claus Lindskov Møller,

    1. Freshwater Biological Laboratory, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Helsingørgade 51, DE–3400 Hillerød, Denmark
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  • Kaj Sand-Jensen

    1. Freshwater Biological Laboratory, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Helsingørgade 51, DE–3400 Hillerød, Denmark
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Author for correspondence:
Claus Lindskov Møller
Tel:+45 3532 1909
Fax:+45 3532 1901
Email: clmoller@bio.ku.dk

Summary

  • • High radial oxygen loss (ROL) from roots of aquatic plants to reduced sediments is thought to deplete the roots of oxygen and restrict the distribution of those species unable to form a barrier to oxygen loss. Metal precipitates with high iron content (Fe-plaques) frequently form on roots of aquatic plants and could create such a diffusion barrier, thereby diverting a larger proportion of downward oxygen transport to the root meristems.
  • • To investigate whether Fe-plaques form a barrier to oxygen loss, ROL and internal oxygen concentrations were measured along the length of roots of the freshwater plant Lobelia dortmanna using platinum sleeve electrodes and Clark-type microelectrodes.
  • • Measurements showed that ROL was indeed lower from roots with Fe-plaques than roots without plaques and that ROL declined gradually with thicker iron coating on roots. The low ROL was caused by low diffusion coefficients through root walls with Fe-plaques resulting in higher internal oxygen concentrations in the root lacunae.
  • • By diverting a larger proportion of downward oxygen transport to root meristems in L. dortmanna, the presence of Fe-plaques should diminish root anoxia and improve survival in reduced sediments.

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