Influence of electrical fields and asymmetric application of mucilage on curvature of primary roots of Zea mays

Am J Bot. 1990 Apr;77(4):446-52.


Primary roots of Zea mays cv. Yellow Dent growing in an electric field curve towards the anode. Roots treated with EDTA and growing in electric field do not curve. When root cap mucilage is applied asymmetrically to tips of vertically-oriented roots, the roots curve toward the mucilage. Roots treated with EDTA curve toward the side receiving mucilage and toward blocks containing 10 mM CaCl2, but not toward "empty" agar blocks or the cut surfaces of severed root tips. These results suggest that 1) free calcium (Ca) is necessary for root electrotropism, 2) mucilage contains effector(s) that induce gravitropiclike curvature, and 3) mucilage can replace gravitropic effectors chelated by EDTA. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the downward movement of gravitropic effectors to the lower sides of tips of horizontally-oriented roots occurs at least partially in the apoplast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Edetic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Electricity*
  • Gravitropism / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / physiology*
  • Tropism
  • Zea mays / drug effects
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / physiology


  • Edetic Acid
  • Calcium