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Propagation of electrotonic potentials in plants: Experimental study and mathematical modeling

1 Department of Chemistry, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL 35896, USA
2 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA


Electrostimulation of electrical networks in plants can induce electrotonic or action potentials propagating along their leaves and stems. Both action and electrotonic potentials play important roles in plant physiology and in signal transduction between abiotic or biotic stress sensors and plant responses. It is well known that electrostimulation of plants can induce gene expression, enzymatic systems activation, electrical signaling, plant movements, and influence plant growth. Here we present the mathematical model of electrotonic potentials in plants, which is supported by the experimental data. The information gained from this mathematical model and analytical study can be used not only to elucidate the effects of electrostimulation on higher plants, but also to observe and predict the intercellular and intracellular communication in the form of electrical signals within electrical networks of plants. For electrostimulation, we used the pulse train, sinusoidal and a triangular saw-shape voltage profiles. The amplitude and sign of electrotonic potentials depend on the amplitude, rise and fall of the applied voltage. Electrostimulation by a sinusoidal wave from a function generator induces electrical response between inserted Ag/AgCl electrodes with a phase shift of 90o. This phenomenon shows that electrical networks in leaves of Aloe vera have electrical differentiators. Electrostimulation is an important tool for the evaluation of mechanisms of phytoactuators’ responses in plants without stimulation of abiotic or biotic stress phytosensors.
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Keywords Aloe vera; differentiator; electrotonic potential; electrostimulation; plant electrophysiology; intercellular potentials

Citation: Alexander G. Volkov, Yuri B. Shtessel. Propagation of electrotonic potentials in plants: Experimental study and mathematical modeling. AIMS Biophysics, 2016, 3(3): 358-379. doi: 10.3934/biophy.2016.3.358


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Copyright Info: 2016, Alexander G. Volkov, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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