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The influence of plant water relations on phloem loading was studied in Ricinus communis L. Phloem transport was maintained in response to bark incisions even at severe water deficits. Water stress was associated with a net increase in the solute content of the sieve tubes, which resulted in maintenance of a positive phloem turgor pressure Ψp. There was a significant increase in solute flux through the phloem with decreasing xylem water potential (Ψ). In addition, sugar uptake by leaf discs was examined in media adjusted to different water potentials with either sorbitol (a relatively impermeant solute) or ethylene glycol (a relatively permeant solute). The limitations in this experimental system are discussed. The results nevertheless indicated that sucrose uptake can be stimulated by a reduction in cell Ψp, but that it is little affected by cell Ψ or solute potential Ψs. On the basis of these data we suggest that sucrose loading is turgor-pressure dependent. This may provide the mechanism by which transport responds to changes in sink demand in the whole plant. © 1980 Springer-Verlag.

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42 - 48