Skip to Main Content
Let’s not forget the critical role of surface tension in xylem water relationsAuthor(s): Jean-Christophe Domec
Source: Tree Physiology 31:359-360
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (596.46 KB)
DescriptionThe widely supported cohesion–tension theory of water transport explains the importance of a continuous water column and the mechanism of long-distance ascent of sap in plants (Dixon 1914, Tyree 2003, Angeles et al. 2004). The evaporation of water from the surfaces of mesophyll cells causes the air–water interface to retreat into the cellulose matrix of the plant cell wall because the cohesion forces between water molecules are stronger than their attraction to air. As a result, the interface between the gas and liquid phases places the mass of water under negative pressure (tension). This pulling force is then transmitted to soil water via a continuous water column since the strong hydrogen bonding of the water molecules also allows water to stay liquid under tension (Oertli 1971). Related to these cohesive forces is surface tension, which characterizes how difficult it is to stretch the surface of a liquid.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationDomec, Jean-Christophe. 2011. Let’s not forget the critical role of surface tension in xylem water relations. Tree Physiology 31:359-360.
- Safety factors for xylem failure by implosion and air-seeding within roots, trunks and branches of young and old conifer trees
Topographic and ecologic controls on root reinforcement
- Topographic and ecological controls on root reinforcement
XML: View XML