The schizogenous intercellular spaces (i. e. those small spaces formed by cell walls coming apart) in the cortex of the roots of field‐grown maize (Zea mays L.) were studied in planed transverse faces of frozen tissue, very lightly etched and coated with Al. The spaces were mostly filled with either fluid or, in the drier roots, with a flaky deposit. This deposit may have been left behind when water was withdrawn, or may have been debris dislodged by the planing. Even in roots with mostly dry spaces, some wet, fluid‐filled spaces remained. X‐ray microanalysis of the wet spaces revealed that the fluid contained K (average concentration 230 mM, range 50–750 mM) and Ca (average concentration 100 mM, range 15 to 550 mM), and occasionally small amounts of S, P or Cl. No other balancing inorganic anions were detected. Concentrations in the wet intercellular spaces showed considerable variation between one space and the next, and were often quite different from those in the vacuoles of adjacent cells. However, overall the vacuoles of the cells surrounding the spaces showed mean concentrations, and distributions of concentrations, indistinguishable from those of the wet spaces. Analyses of the deposits in the dry spaces were less reliable because of their uneven surface, but the same ions in about the same amounts were found there. The contents of the spaces showed no correlation with either the time of collection of the roots, or with distance from the root tip. Nor was there any change in concentration of these ions in the spaces when the roots were grown for 19 h in distilled water mist. Experiments and evidence are presented suggesting that the observed distribution of ions is probably not an artefact. Pilot experiments showed similar distributions of extracellular ions in roots of barley, Sudan grass and soybean Copyright

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Keywords Air spaces, apoplast, cryo‐scanning electron microscopy, intercellular spaces, ion concentrations, maize, osmotic potential, X‐ray microanalysis, Zea mays
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Journal Physiologia Plantarum
Canny, M.J., & Huang, C.X. (1993). What is in the intercellular spaces of roots? Evidence from the cryo‐analytical‐scanning electron microscope. Physiologia Plantarum, 87(4), 561–568. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3054.1993.tb02507.x