Rapid Communication


, Volume 209, Issue 1, pp 126-131

First online:

Dynamic studies of phloem and xylein flow in fully differentiated plants by fast nuclear-magnetic-resonance microimaging

  • M. RokittaAffiliated withPhysikalisches Institut, EP 5, Universität Würzburg
  • , A. D. PeukeAffiliated withJulius-von-Sachs-Institut für Biowissenschaften, Universität Würzburg
  • , U. ZimmermannAffiliated withLehrstuhl für Biotechnologie, Biozentrum, Universität Würzburg
  • , A. HaaseAffiliated withPhysikalisches Institut, EP 5, Universität Würzburg

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A fast nuclear-magnetic-resonance imaging method was developed in order to measure simultaneously and quantitatively the water flow velocities in the xylem and the phloem of intact and transpiring plants. Due to technical improvements a temporal resolution of 7 min could be reached and flow measurements could be performed over a time course of 12–30 h. The novel method was applied to the hypocotyl of 35– to 40-day-old, leafy plants ofRicinus communis which were subjected to different light-dark regimes. The results showed that the xylem flow velocities and the xylem volume flow responded immediately to light on-off changes. Upon illumination the flow velocity and the volume flow increased as expected in respect to literature. In contrast, the phloem flow velocity did not change in response to the light-dark regimes. Interestingly, though, the volume flow in the phloem increased during darkness. These findings can be explained by assuming that the conducting area of the phloem becomes enlarged during the dark period due to opening of sieve pores.


Phloem flow Xylem flow Water transport Nuclearmagnetic-resonance imaging Ricinus communis L