Have you ever wondered what is there in the plants that supply all the important nutrients and minerals to the whole plant body and how does that mechanism work? It would be so interesting to know all about this particular mechanism of plants.
Plants are living organisms. Plants carry out respiration, take up nutrients, and all other basic processes which ensure that they are living beings except for locomotion. They do not move from one place to another and are the basic and the most important factor in the complete food chain. Herbivorous animals and even humans depend on plants for their nutrition and food, which gives them this importance.
Such an essential part of the ecosystem’s food chain must have been an excellent topic for studying and will be very interesting to discover and learn a lot about them.
You will be surprised to know that plants also contain the same mechanism as that of the human heart and circulatory system. Not completely, but it can be said a study of Heart And Heartbeat Of Plants.
Difference Between Mechanism of Animal’s and Plant’s Nutrients Transport System:
Animal Circulatory System:
The circulatory system of animals is made up of arteries, veins, and heart. The circulatory system of animals transports nutrients, gases, and wastes throughout the animal body through the blood flowing in the conducting blood vessels emerging from the arteries.
The arteries carry the oxygenated blood from the heart to the other organs of the body. The arteries divide and subdivided, forming fine small blood vessels for a better and more efficient blood supply. This blood from the blood vessels is the source of all the essential nutrients, minerals, and oxygen needed by various organs of the body.
Plant Circulatory System:
We all know that the most important part of the plant is its root. The roots of plants penetrate themselves deeply into the layers of soil. This helps the plant to stand by providing supports to the root anchors themselves into the soil. It is said that the stronger the root, the stronger is the plant. Thus, the stability and strength of the plants completely depend on the root of plants.
The plant roots give rise to various other fibrous, hair-like fine root structures, which are tiny and spread in several directions. These fibrous roots are very flexible; thus, they are sent in various directions.
These roots take up the water, nutrients, and minerals, and this all is transported from the roots to the leaf and several other parts of the plant. Thus, plants also possess certain mechanisms, just like animals, to transport the essential nutrients, minerals, and water from the soil.
The absorbed minerals, salts, and water are transported in the form of a wide range of chains from root to trunk, from trunk to limb, from limb to twig, and from twig to leaf. During this entire journey, most of the water content is evaporated, but the salts are retained and hence are used later on.
How Does It Work?
This transport mechanism in plants can be divided into two parts, the hard xylem, and the soft phloem. Xylem’s role is to carry and transport the necessary salt and the water content from the fibrous root tips to the leaves. It is said that leaf is the kitchen of the plant. Thus after the transportation of these minerals and water to the leaf of plants, they’re assimilated.
After this, the plant’s prepared food is transported to the required areas of the plants by no other mechanism than Phloem.
The minerals serve as inorganic raw products. The leaves still need sunlight and water for producing food. The food product produced by plants is Starch. Starch is a combination of carbon dioxide gas and water.
Leaves of the plant contain the chlorophyll pigment. Chlorophyll is the green color pigment found in the plant leaf. It is responsible for imparting green color to the plant as well as producing starch.
Transportation of Nutrients In Plants:
Transportation of nutrients and water in plants takes place due to the Xylem and Phloem vessels. Transportation takes place in three stages.
- Transportation of substance from one cell to another.
- Transport of the sap consisting of a long distance.
- The release and the uptake of water content and the solute substance taking place by individual cells of the plants.
Let us understand Xylem and Phloem in detail.
Xylem is the tissue of the plant responsible for providing support o the plant and the sole part of the plant, which stores the food of the plant and takes care of the transport of the water and nutrients throughout the plant body.
Xylem is composed of tracheids, which are the plant’s conducting cells, vessel elements, and tissue known as parenchyma. These tissues are connected from one to another and finally form a structure like a long tube.
The support providing the structure of the plants is the tracheids. Tracheids have a secondary wall that is thick and consists of tapering ends. This thick secondary cell wall provides support to the plants, and thus the plants can grow with a maximum amount of height.
The vessels and tracheids of the plants die after they attain maturity. The greater height of the plants also has multiple advantages. The great height of plant help them reach the sunlight closely, also they grow tall due to which they shed their shadow on the other small plants which are not so tall. Due to it is they limit their competition for water with the surrounding plants in their area.
Phloem tissue carries out the transport of soluble organic substances, like starch. Phloem is made up of sieve elements, also known as the sieve tubes, the companion cells, parenchymatic cells, and the fibers. This all elements compose the tubes, which we call Phloem.
The phloem endings do not possess a large wide opening, which is generally seen in Xylem but consists of small spores. These small sports of the phloem are known as sieve plates.
How Do Plants Prepare Food?
Plants prepare their food with the help of the process known as Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is when the leaf of a plant utilizes the light of the sun to prepare their food. They convert the light energy to chemical energy, and it is stored in the leaf in the form of food. This food is known as Starch.
The photosynthesis process is the key process for the growth and development of plants. Photosynthesis takes place with the help of carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. The process gives rise to products like oxygen and carbohydrate. Oxygen has been liberated out by the plants and carbohydrates used as food resources.
The process starts with the absorption of a good amount of water by the roots, which rise to the plant’s leaves through xylem tissues. It helps in the process of Photosynthesis.
Plants contain chlorophyll, a green pigment that plays an important role in absorbing the sunlight and imparts a green color to the plants.
The chlorophyll pigments absorb the single-photon of the sunlight and give out an electron. It is a series of endless chemical reactions until the process continues. In this process, the electron is lost from the water molecule in the leaf, leading to the end product’s loss of oxygen molecule. This oxygen molecule is gets separated from the hydrogen. The hydrogen molecule is collected and used to synthesize to form a carbohydrate molecule.
The following reaction best explains the process of photosynthesis.
6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2
The six molecules of Carbon Dioxide reacts with water and gives rise to carbon compound and liberates Oxygen.
It is believed that it is photosynthesis due to which the early green plants like the algae make the atmosphere of the earth breathable for the other species residing here. This can not be denied as even if today plants are considered a great source of purified air, they liberate oxygen and take in carbon dioxide, thereby decreasing air pollution.
The Entire Process:
The absorbed water and nutrients from plant root tips are transported to various plants, including leaf. Here, the leaf contains chlorophyll pigments along with absorbed water. The leaf absorbs the sunlight with the help of chlorophyll. In the presence of light, the plants also take up carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbohydrates, mostly Starch. Starch is the basic food component of the plants. This process is known as Photosynthesis. During this process, oxygen is liberated by plants as waste products.
Now from the formed carbohydrate, not all is consumed. The plants store some amount for future use. This formed food element starch is stored and transported to all the other parts of plants requiring nutrition with Phloem vessels’ help.
Thus, the xylem and phloem are the plant’s conducting vessels and are the most important part that acts just as a human circulatory system. Thus, they can be called the heat and the heartbeat of a plant.