Plant Solute Transport. Anthony R. Yeo and Timothy J. Flowers. 2007. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK. 424 pp. List price $211.99. Hardback. ISBN 978-14051-3995-3.
The editors are faculty at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. The contributors, including the editors, to the 15 chapters in the book are plant scientists in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. The chapters are not divided into sections of the book, but the authors note in the preface and elsewhere that a first grouping of chapters (1 to 5) addresses physical concepts of solute and water movement and the roles of solutes in plants; a second grouping of chapters (6 to 10) covers transport of solute at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and whole-plant levels of organization; and a third grouping (11 to 15) considers solute relations under different environmental conditions. Each chapter contains references cited, and the index was good.
The first chapter is a general introduction that provides a synopsis of each chapter in the book. The second chapter emphasizes sampling and analysis of inorganic constituents including paragraphs on various analytical procedures (optical spectrophotometry, mass spectrophotometry, X-ray fluorescence, ion-specific electrodes, and ion chromatography). This chapter also includes information on solute concentrations and ranges of solutes in plants. The third chapter presents properties of water and outlines the thermodynamics of solutions, including movement of water and solute. Membrane structure and solute transport across plant membranes are presented in the fourth chapter, which gives composition and function of about 20 membranes in plant cells and gives techniques for studying solute transport across plant membranes. Chapter 5 covers transport across plant membranes with topics of passive transport by diffusion, facilitated diffusion, and transport through ion channels and of active transport by proton pumps, ATPases, and carrier-type mechanisms for specific ions. These five chapters constitute the grouping of the physical concepts of solute and water movement and a transition into the next group of chapters addressing the various levels of solute transport in plants.
In the grouping of levels of solute transport, the Chapter 6 addresses regulation of transport proteins, covering physiological situations (changes in cell volume, ion acquisition, stress responses) requiring regulation of ion transport, molecular signaling, and membrane turnover and maintenance. Chapter 7 presents extensive coverage of intracellular transport in chloroplasts, mitochondria, peroxisomes, and vacuoles and between these organelles. Chapter 8 covers ion absorption and transport to the xylem of the roots. The effects of soil composition on ion uptake, the effects of ion uptake on soil composition, and the effects of ion uptake by various zones of roots are discussed. The next chapter deals with transport from root to shoot, including topics of structure, water flow, and driving forces for water movement in the xylem. Also, this chapter covers the transport of nutrients, including mechanisms of xylem loading, xylem-sap composition, and xylem unloading in leaves. Chapter 10 is a rigorous one that covers solute transport in the phloem. This chapter outlines the structures and functions of the sieve elements, companion cells, and plasmodesmata connecting these cells. The composition and water relations of phloem are presented in many paragraphs describing the loading, unloading, longevity, responses to stress, and other physiological factors in phloem.
Chapter 11 begins a new grouping of topics considering solute relations under different environmental conditions and covers factors affecting the rate of supply of solutes to the root surface. Conditions and factors covered are nutrient bioavailability, movement toward roots, losses, and spatial arrangements in soils and other situations that affect the acquisition and uptake of nutrients by roots. Chapter 12 covers mineral deficiencies and toxicities. Attention is given to iron deficiency in alkaline soils, phosphorus uptake in low-phosphorus soils, aluminum toxicity and tolerance in acid soils, and toxicity and tolerance to essential and nonessential elements in soils. Chapter 13 covers plant responses to drought and other water-limiting conditions in soils. Similarly, Chapter 14 covers plant responses to salinity. The last chapter deals with desiccation tolerance of plants in contrast to desiccation avoidance covered in Chapters 13 and 14. Desiccation tolerance of seeds and vegetative tissues also is discussed in Chapter 15.
Plant Solute Transport is a useful reference for horticulturists who teach and perform research in plant nutrition. It is written a style that is easy to read and to understand, and readers are not overwhelmed with technical presentations, jargon, and abbreviations and acronyms. Illustrations are limited in the text, and understanding of some presentations, such as membrane structures, would have been facilitated by drawings and other figures. The book is expensive for purchase by individuals but is one that should be recommended for purchase by college and university libraries.