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