Two distinct regions of response drive differential growth in Vigna root electrotropism

Plant Cell Environ. 2000 Nov;23(11):1275-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3040.2000.00629.x.


Although exogenous electric fields have been reported to influence the orientation of plant root growth, reports of the ultimate direction of differential growth have been contradictory. Using a high-resolution image analysis approach, the kinetics of electrotropic curvature in Vigna mungo L. roots were investigated. It was found that curvature occurred in the same root toward both the anode and cathode. However, these two responses occurred in two different regions of the root, the central elongation zone (CEZ) and distal elongation zone (DEZ), respectively. These oppositely directed responses could be reproduced individually by a localized electric field application to the region of response. This indicates that both are true responses to the electric field, rather than one being a secondary response to an induced gravitropic stimulation. The individual responses differed in the type of differential growth giving rise to curvature. In the CEZ, curvature was driven by inhibition of elongation, whereas curvature in the DEZ was primarily due to stimulation of elongation. This stimulation of elongation is consistent with the growth response of the DEZ to other environmental stimuli.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Buffers
  • Culture Media
  • Electricity*
  • Electrodes
  • Fabaceae / growth & development*
  • Fabaceae / physiology
  • Gravitropism / physiology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Roots / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tropism / physiology*


  • Buffers
  • Culture Media