Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 73–83 | Cite as

Analysis of growth patterns during gravitropic curvature in roots ofZea mays by use of a computer-based video digitizer

  • Amy J. Nelson
  • Michael L. Evans


A computer-based video digitizer system is described which allows automated tracking of markers placed on a plant surface. The system uses customized software to calculate relative growth rates at selected positions along the plant surface and to determine rates of gravitropic curvature based on the changing pattern of distribution of the surface markers. The system was used to study the time course of gravitropic curvature and changes in relative growth rate along the upper and lower surface of horizontally-oriented roots of maize (Zea mays L.). The growing region of the root was found to extend from about 1 mm behind the tip to approximately 6 mm behind the tip. In vertically-oriented roots the relative growth rate was maximal at about 2.5 mm behind the tip and declined smoothly on either side of the maximum. Curvature was initiated approximately 30 min after horizontal orientation with maximal (50°) curvature being attained in 3 h. Analysis of surface extension patterns during the response indicated that curvature results from a reduction in growth rate along both the upper and lower surfaces with stronger reduction along the lower surface.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Audus LJ, Brownbridge ME (1957) Studies on the geotropism of roots. I. Growth-rate distribution during response and the effects of applied auxins. J Exp Bot 8:105–124Google Scholar
  2. Barlow PW, Rathfelder EL (1984) Distribution and redistribution of extension growth along vertical and horizontal gravireacting maize roots. Planta 165:134–141Google Scholar
  3. Bejaoui M, Pilet PE (1977) Oxygen uptake of growing and geostimulated roots. Plant Sci Lett 8:223–226Google Scholar
  4. Bennet-Clark TA, Younis AF, Esnault R (1959) Geotropic behavior of roots. J Exp Bot 10:69–86Google Scholar
  5. Brain ED (1935) Studies in the effects of prolonged rotation of plants on a horizontal klinostat. I. Growth rate. New Phytol 34:97–108Google Scholar
  6. Cholodny N (1932) Ist die Wachstumsgeschwindigkeit der Wurzel von deren Lagen abhängig? Planta 17:794–801Google Scholar
  7. Darbelley N, Perbal G (1984) Gravity and cell differentiation in the lentil root. The Physiologist 27(Suppl No 6):121–122Google Scholar
  8. Erickson RO, Goddard DR (1951) An analysis of root growth in cellular and biochemical terms. Growth 15(Suppl):89–116PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Erickson RO, Sax KB (1956) Elemental growth rate of the primary root ofZea mays. Proc Amer Phil Soc 100:487–498Google Scholar
  10. Erickson RO, Silk WK (1980) The kinematics of plant growth. Sci Amer 242:134–151Google Scholar
  11. Green PB (1976) Growth and cell pattern formation on an axis: Critique of concepts, terminology and modes of study. Bot Gaz 137:187–202Google Scholar
  12. Jackson MB, Barlow PW (1981) Root geotropism and the role of growth regulators from the cap: A reexamination. Plant, Cell and Envir 4:107–123Google Scholar
  13. Jaffe MJ, Wakefield AH, Telewski F, Gulley E, Biro R (1985) Computer-assisted image analysis of plant growth, thigmomorphogenesis, and gravitropism. Plant Physiol 77:722–730PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Keeble, F, Nelson MG, Snow R (1931) The integration of plant behavior. III. The effect of gravity on the growth of roots. Proc R Soc London Ser B 108:360–365Google Scholar
  15. Konings H (1964) On the indoleacetic acid converting enzyme of pea roots and its relation to geotropism, straight growth and cell wall properties. Acta Bot Neerl 13:566–622Google Scholar
  16. Lee J, Kuzmanoff K, Mulkey T, Evans M (1983) Video digitizer analysis of changes in relative growth rate patterns in graviresponding roots. Plant Physiol 72(Suppl No 1):90Google Scholar
  17. Navez AE (1933) “Geo-growth” reaction of roots ofLupinus. Bot Gaz 94:616–624Google Scholar
  18. Pilet PE, Ney D (1981) Differential growth of georeacting maize roots. Planta 151:146–150Google Scholar
  19. Pilet PE, Nougarede A (1974) Root cell georeaction and growth inhibition. Plant Sci Lett 3:331–334Google Scholar
  20. Silk WK, Erickson RO (1978) Kinematics of hypocotyl curvature. Amer J Bot 65:310–319Google Scholar
  21. Silk WK (1984) Quantitative descriptions of development. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 35:479–518Google Scholar
  22. Telewski FW, Wakefield AH, Jaffe MJ (1983) Computer-assisted image analysis of tissues of ethrel-treatedPinus taeda seedlings. Plant Physiol 72:177–181Google Scholar
  23. Veen BW (1964) Increased growth in roots ofVicia faba on a horizontal clinostat. Acta Bot Neerl 13:91–96Google Scholar
  24. Wakefield A, Telewski F, Jaffe MJ (1983) Measurement of growth and gravitropism by video image processing. Plant Physiol 72(Suppl No 1):63Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy J. Nelson
    • 1
  • Michael L. Evans
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology ProgramOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations