Module 3 SLP - TRIDENT UNIVERSITY ECOL100 MODULE 3 SLP WHAT...

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********* TRIDENT UNIVERSITY ECOL100 MODULE 3 SLP FEBRUARY 26, 2016
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WHAT ARE ROOTS? Roots are equal in importance to leaves as the life support system for plants and thus for all life in terrestrial ecosystems
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Roots are: Carbon pumps that feed soil organisms and contribute to soil organic matter Storage organs Chemical factories that may change soil pH, poison competitors, filter out toxins, concentrate rare elements, etc. A sensor network that helps regulate plant growth Absorptive network for limiting soil resources of water and nutrients Mechanical structures that support plants, strengthen soil, construct channels, break rocks, etc. Hydraulic conduits that redistribute soil water and nutrients Habitats for mycorrhizal fungi, rhizosphere and rhizoplane organisms
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The Epidermis and Root Hairs The epidermis is the outmost layer of roots that functions as the interface between plants and the soil. Epidermal cells often have narrow outgrowths that extend between soil particles called root hairs. Root hairs may be long or short, dense, sparse, or absent altogether (Peterson & Farquhar 1996). Root hairs facilitate mineral nutrient uptake by increasing the surface area of roots.
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Exodermis and Cortex In some cases, the exodermis has two cell types - long and short cells (called a dimorphic exodermis - Shishkoff 1987). In these roots, the short cells have less suberin in their walls and are used as passage cells by mycorrhizal fungus hyphae. The cortex is the largest organ of primary roots and cortex cells contain little cytoplasm, unless occupied by a mycorrhizal fungus.
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Endodermis The endodermis is the inner boundary of the cortex and is considered to have a major role in regulating nutrient transfer in all roots.
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