Biology

Difference between apoplast transport and syplast transport

Main difference

The transport of minerals and water in plants is an essential process, which is required mainly by the Xylem tissues. As we know, the roots soak the water and the rest of the water from there is transported to all parts of the plant. The root hairs are the main responsible for this water absorption. The process of absorbing water from the roots of the plant is known as absorption. From the xylem tubes to the cortical cells, the pericycle and the passage cells, the absorbed water passes through these cells to reach the different parts of the plants. In 1949, a German scientist, Max Kramer proposed the two mechanisms of water absorption, which he called active absorption and passive absorption. Passive absorption occurs through the root apoplast or available free spaces. Apoplast is made up of the cell wall and intercellular spaces. Apoplast is the space outside the plasma membrane and does not include protoplasm. The process of absorption and transport of water that takes place through the intercellular spaces and the cell wall is called apoplast transport. On the other hand, the transport and absorption of water in which living protoplasm intervenes and the water enters the cell sap and then passes from one cell to another is called simplast transport.

Comparative chart

Apoplast transport Symplast Transport
Definition The process of absorption and transport of water that takes place through the intercellular spaces and the cell wall is called apoplast transport. The transport and absorption of water in which living protoplasm is involved and water enters the cell sap and then passes from one cell to another is called syplast transport.
Carriers Apoplast transport involves the cell wall and intercellular spaces. Symplast transport depends on the cytoplasm of plant cells.
Time Water and ion transport is faster in apoplast transport. A little slower.
Root metabolic state Apoplast transport is not affected by the metabolic state of the root. Symplast transport is directly affected by the metabolic state of the root.
What is Apoplast Transport?

Apoplast transport is the passive type of absorption that plants perform, the water from the roots moves up through the root apoplast and other available free spaces. The main carriers of this type of transport are the cell wall and the intercellular spaces. As the carriers are complexly permeable, the absorption process is faster in apoplast transport compared to active transport (syplast transport). Apoplast transport relies on non-living parts of the cell and is not affected by the metabolic state of the root. The water can reach the endodermis using this type of transport, for its passage through the endodermis process the transport of symplast is required.

What is Symplast Transport?

Symplast transport is the active type of absorption carried out by plants, the water from the roots first enters the cell sap and then passes from one cell to another. Transport in plants involving living protoplasm is known as symplast transport. Syplast transport does not involve the cell wall and intercellular spaces; it is highly dependent on the cytoplasm of plant cells, which are interconnected with plasmodesmata. Since it affects the living parts of the cell, it is directly affected by the metabolic state of the root. Compared to apoplast transport, syplast transport is a slightly slower process.

Apoplast Transportation vs. Symplast Transportation
  • The process of absorption and transport of water that takes place through the intercellular spaces and the cell wall is called apoplast transport. On the other hand, the transport and absorption of water in which living protoplasm intervenes and the water enters the cell sap and then passes from one cell to another is called simplast transport.
  • Apoplast transport involves the cell wall and intercellular spaces, while syplast transport depends on the cytoplasm of plant cells.
  • Water and ion transport is faster in apoplast transport compared to active transport (symplast transport).
  • Apoplast transport is not affected by the metabolic state of the root, on the other hand, syplast transport is directly affected by the metabolic state of the root.

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