We all know that plants need water, just as we do, but do we know exactly how they drink it? Water is very important, as it moves nutrients, minerals, and biomolecules throughout the living structures.
Physicist Flavius Pascut from the University of Nottingham, and his team, watched the plants drinking water in real-time.
Kevin Webb, electrophysiologist, stated: “We’ve developed a way to allow ourselves to watch that process at the level of single cells. We can not only see the water going up inside the root but also where and how it travels around. To observe water uptake in living plants without damaging them, we have applied a sensitive, laser-based, optical microscopy technique to see water movement inside living roots non-invasively, which has never been done before.”
Scientists used the Raman microspectroscopy, as it provides real-time imaging under natural conditions, and there is no need for molecular labelling.
The technique is known for being sensitive, as it can detect the orientation and mass of molecular bonds. Deuterium oxide – the molecules that stand out from their surroundings would be used. It is called heavy water, and it is very similar to normal water.
So how do plants drink water?
The study has shown a pulse of heavy water 80 seconds after exposing the roots. They made a comparison between exposing it to regular water and heavy water to see how the water gets to the plant tissue. Scientists were only able to find the water in the inner part of the roots – this shows that the water they drink first does not get on the surrounding tissues from the roots up.
What does this mean?
Scientists have come to the conclusion that there are two systems of water, and the second one distributes the water to the outer tissues.