The Beauty of Plant Biology: Root Tissue Role and Function

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Apart from plant root networking providing unique braiding through river systems and sedimentary rock bed formations, various tissue specializations allow roots to carry out their specific functions. Herein this investigation is explored those some of those tissue specializations as functions, and secondly to explain how these specializations function to allow the roots to fulfill their roles in plant growth and metabolism. So rather than taking a macro-look at root systems, the attention and intention are drawn to a micro-look at the roots' tissues and role fulfillment in biological plant metabolism. 

Seemingly with all the varieties of plants and their roots, obviously it is difficult to let a single species to suffice as a model for all. However, one tissue specialization that occurs in the early stages of root development in what Gregory describes as “lateral root growth” involves emergent specialized tissue growth of “epidermal cell layers” on the “main root axis” which functions as expressions for a response to sucrose transporter (320). Collectively cortex, hypodermis, and epidermis form a “tight seal” thereby holding the root to the integrity of its core axis (Gregory 320). In addition to providing the stems and leaves with nutrients, and in conjunction with the metabolism process of photosynthesis, specialized tissues in roots known as a mass of “adventitious roots,” root cap cell periphery, and tissue cells called “Columella” with their amyloplasts can detect the gravity. Who knew? These specialized tissue cells then, respond to light and are responsive to soil particle pressure – as Columella cell push their way to the root cap all the unique peripheral tissue-laden cells coordinate their functions with the aid of mucigel, according to the same aforementioned source. 

Mucigel, in turn, performs a plethora of functions. Mucigel helps protect the root and assists information of essential “sugars, organic acids, vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids” which actually a sort of hydrated “polysaccharide” in the dictyosomes. Specialized inhibitors in certain plant roots help the roots to refrain competing plant root growth. Root tissues are extremely and highly complex. The biochemical and genetic foundation of functionality is amazing. Given the sections of tissues, some key areas at, or near the tip, include the Quiescent Center region that organizes growth patterns, and the Subapical Region tissue which has three sub-divisions which regulate plant metabolism in terms of length, differentiation, root hairs, and water uptake and “nutrient absorption.” However it is important to keep in mind that there are immense differences from plant type, as for example the cactus maintains photosynthesis with their numerous hairs and stomata and feature specializations that sometimes may not reduce the rate of transpiration in order to reduce light intensity in the particular dry desert environment. The variations seem endless as scientists are discovering new wonders every day. 

One might say that getting down to the nitty-gritty of a genetic discussion about plant root metabolism is truly where the real action is. For example, authors Emons and Ketelaar point out the intricacy of a root's hair system as informing that “root hairs stand out from the root body, extending the surface area of the root to facilitate anchoring in the soil and absorption of ions and water” (1). When you really consider the vitality of roots by-and-large in terms of their role and function in plant metabolism, it is no wonder that the health of people and food supply worldwide are so critically connected to the process. In fact, as commonly known, plants hold a vital key to the oxygen supply.  

Works Cited

Emons, Anne Mie C., and Tijs Ketelaar. Root hairs. Springer, 2009. 

Gregory, P. J. Plant roots: Growth, activity, and interaction with soils. Blackwell Pub., 2006. “Plant Roots.” facweb.furman. Furman University, 2013. Web. 2 July 2013.