Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The movement of tree sap analyzed

Date:
January 4, 2011
Source:
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica
Summary:
Scientists have used 3D modeling to analyze the mechanisms used to by trees to transport water in their interior. The objective: to discover the keys to the movement of sap in order to apply these advances to new hydraulic systems or to suction pumps.

Plant.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica

Scientists at Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) used a 3D modeling to analyze the mechanisms used to by trees to transport water in their interior. The objective: to discover the keys to the movement of sap in order to apply these advances to new hydraulic systems or to suction pumps.

The researchers decided to embark on this study in order to find out which mechanisms are used by plants when they extract water from very dry or somewhat inhospitable land. "In the case of mangrove swamps, for example, the plants are able to extract freshwater from a saltwater environment, despite the fact that the osmotic pressure should make quite the opposite happen," explains Professor José Luis Pérez Díaz, who studies this type of relatively unknown phenomenon as part of a new line of research that the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC3M has begun.

The objective of the study is to learn what type of mechanism the plants use when extracting the water and transporting it from the roots to the leaves. To do this, the researchers have generated a model that represents the microscopic structure of the trunk of a European beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) in order to study the changes produced when the water moves through its interior; they have published some of the results of their research in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Physics.

The three-dimensional model created by these UC3M scientists allows them to analyze the transpiration and absorption of the bark of the tree, as well as the pressure in the different types of conduits, such as the phloem or xylem, that transport fluids inside the trunk. The first is a vascular tissue that carries sugars and other synthesized nutrients from the organs that produce them to the organs where they are consumed and stored, in both upward and downward directions. Xylem, on the other hand, is different type of tissue that is adapted especially for conveying water upward for the length of the plant; its elements are arranged in longitudinal rows, through more or less continuous sections of conduits.

The main conclusion of this study is that the sap in the trunks of trees is in a pressurized situation. It demonstrates, then, that when the pressure is positive in the conduits of the xylem as well as in those of the phloem, the model expands in the radial direction. However, when the pressure is negative in the xylem and positive in the phloem, which is what is believed to occur during the day, the model contracts in the radial direction. "Our results are not absolutely conclusive yet, but they set us on a path to continue our study and to find out more about these processes," says Professor Pérez Díaz.

This line of research could have interesting applications for hydraulic systems or devices for water extraction, for example. "Currently -- the expert points out -- there is no water suction pump capable of raising water more than ten meters at normal atmospheric pressure, but a sequoia tree can raise water to a height of 100 meters, which I think means that anything we can learn from plants is going to be of great interest to people working in this field," he concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. José Luis Pérez Díaz, Juan Carlos García Prada, Fernando Romera Juárez, Efrén Diez Jiménez. Mechanical behaviour analyses of sap ascent in vascular plants. Journal of Biological Physics, Vol: 36 No: 4 Pp: 355-363 September 2010

Cite This Page:

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. "The movement of tree sap analyzed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213121957.htm>.
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. (2011, January 4). The movement of tree sap analyzed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213121957.htm
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Oficina de Información Científica. "The movement of tree sap analyzed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213121957.htm (accessed October 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) — With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) — Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins