In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 730–741

Root-specific metabolism: The biology and biochemistry of underground organs


  • Harsh Pal Bais
    • Department of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitectureColorado State University
  • Victor M. Loyola-Vargas
    • Unidad de Biología ExperimentalCentro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mérida
  • Hector E. Flores
    • Department of Plant Pathology and Biotechnology InstituteThe Pennsylvania State University
  • Jorge M. Vivanco
    • Department of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitectureColorado State University
Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/s11627-001-0122-y

Cite this article as:
Bais, H.P., Loyola-Vargas, V.M., Flores, H.E. et al. In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol.-Plant (2001) 37: 730. doi:10.1007/s11627-001-0122-y


The roots of higher plants comprise a metabolically active and largely unexplored biological frontier. Some of their prime features include the ability to synthesize a remarkably diverse group of secondary metabolites, and to adjust their metabolic activities in response to different abiotic and biotic stresses. This adjustment includes the ability to exude a wide array of micro- and macromolecules into the rhizosphere and to phytoremediate toxic metals, with the potential to affect and alter the relationships between plants and both beneficial and deleterious soil-borne pathogens. In the past, research on root biology has been hampered by the underground nature of roots and the lack of suitable experimental systems to study root-root and root-microbe communications. However, recent progress in growing roots in isolation with other elements of the rhizosphere has greatly facilitated the study of root-specific metabolism and contributed to our understanding of this organ.

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Copyright information

© Society for In Vitro Biology 2001