Modeling the hydrodynamics of Phloem sieve plates.

Kaare Hartvig Jensen, Daniel Leroy Mullendore, Noel Michele Holbrook, Tomas Bohr, Michael Knoblauch, Henrik Bruus

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Sieve plates have an enormous impact on the efficiency of the phloem vascular system of plants, responsible for the distribution of photosynthetic products. These thin plates, which separate neighboring phloem cells, are perforated by a large number of tiny sieve pores and are believed to play a crucial role in protecting the phloem sap from intruding animals by blocking flow when the phloem cell is damaged. The resistance to the flow of viscous sap in the phloem vascular system is strongly affected by the presence of the sieve plates, but the hydrodynamics of the flow through them remains poorly understood. We propose a theoretical model for quantifying the effect of sieve plates on the phloem in the plant, thus unifying and improving previous work in the field. Numerical simulations of the flow in real and idealized phloem channels verify our model, and anatomical data from 19 plant species are investigated. We find that the sieve plate resistance is correlated to the cell lumen resistance, and that the sieve plate and the lumen contribute almost equally to the total hydraulic resistance of the phloem translocation pathway.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Pages (from-to)151
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • biological fluid dynamics
  • hydraulic resistance
  • phloem
  • sieve plate
  • sugar transport in plants


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