The word Apoplast was coined by Munch in 1930. It helps to separate the living symplast from the dead apoplast. All the cell walls in plants and the water that resides within it are interconnected with each other, known as apoplast. The apoplast route is the transport route of water (including dissolved ions and solutes) through cell walls. This is the primary pathway for water to flow from a plant's root cortex to the endodermis.
The apoplast is a term used in botany to describe the gap between cells that allows materials to diffuse freely. Non-living components, such as cell walls and intercellular substances, make up the apoplast. The protoplast is not included in the apoplast. The Casparian strip interrupts the flow of materials via the apoplast in the root. The Casparian strip is a band of cell wall material on the radial and transverse walls of endodermal root cells (mostly suberin). Suberin is a lipophilic biopolymer that serves as a barrier to prevent excessive water loss.
In protozoology, an apoplast is a plastid that lacks pigments in contrast to chromatophores. As a result of the lack of pigments in an apoplast, a colorless protozoon emerges from a colored group.
Significance of Apoplast in plants
- The apoplast is essential for all plant's interactions with their surroundings. The process of photosynthesis occurs in a cell with the help of chloroplast present in it. To make this photosynthesis process work, the primary carbon source, i.e., carbon dioxide, must get solubilized in the Apoplast before it passes through the chloroplast.
- Acidification of the apoplast promotes cell wall to grow long and increase root development rate in nitrate-deficient soil. A cell's Apoplast also serves as a hub for cell-to-cell communication.
- Water enters the plant by the root hair to the upward direction. All the movement of plants solutes is done through the xylem and phloem, which use the root, stem, and other parts to transport them.
- Water enters the root-by-root hairs and then travels to the xylem vessel via one of three pathways (apoplast, symplast, or vacuolar). Osmosis is the process by which this movement of water from root hair to xylem takes place in the plant.
- The apoplast route is one in which water travels from cell wall to cell wall without ever going through the cytoplasm. Water flows between nearby cells' cytoplasm and vacuoles in the simplest pathway. The Casparian strip's apoplast pathway can only carry water in a certain way, near the xylem. The cell walls provide a closely packed barrier to water, forcing water to shift into the cytoplasm. The water must pass through a plasma membrane, which allow the plant to control the ions that enter its xylem vessels.
- Lately, it has been discovered that apoplast play a significant role in various processes, including plant-microbe interactions, intercellular signaling, and water and nutrient transport. The apoplast includes all things present outside of the plasmalemma, such as the interfibrillar, internal space, the xylem's gas, and water-filled intercellular space. Apoplast extends till the rhizoplane and cuticle of the outer plant surface.
- Nutrients cannot easily pass through the Apoplast to the plasmalemma as nutrients get absorbed or fixed to the cell wall. So, in-plant physical and chemical characteristics of cell walls help in the movements of mineral nutrition.
- The root apoplast's role in short-distance transport and nutrient uptake is investigated, focusing on salt toxicity and aluminum tolerance. This includes long-distance movement and the significance of the Apoplast as a microbial home. The apoplast pathway has several advantages over the vacuole pathway, in which leaf apoplast stores short-term nutrition and exchanges solute with the atmosphere.