Growth and electric current loops in plants

Kiyoshi Toko, Takanori Fujiyoshi, Chikako Tanaka, Satoru Iiyama, Toshirou Yoshida, Kenshi Hayashi, Kaoru Yamafuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A theory is presented for a relationship between ion accumulation and electric current loops in multicellular systems such as the roots and stems of higher plants. A network of electric circuits shows that the electric current transported across the cell membrane flows between an elongating region and a mature region, not only in roots but also in stems. In roots, ions constituting the extracellular electric current flow in the external aqueous medium, while in stems an electric current of comparable density flows within the epidermal cell wall. Based on this theoretical result, electric isolation between the elongating and mature regions was made in the case of both roots and stems. The speed of growth during the initial stage was greatly decreased due to a change in the distribution of protons around the surfaces of the plant by cutting off the electric current loop. Electrochemical calculation shows that ions are not always accumulated at the efflux site, since the ion distribution is strongly affected by the relation of the magnitudes between the electric field and electric current. The results calculated for the electric potential and pH distributions around the root agree with experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-176
Number of pages16
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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