Since both of these processes are interconnected, by monitoring the respiration rate
indirectly viatranspiration andwater lossmeasurements, changes inmetabolic activity can
be directly inferred.
Measuring Proton Emissions
For the next method, researchers Tsutomu Takamura and others 5 found a relationship
between externally-applied electric fields andthesynthesis andconsumption of ATP .They
found that ATP is consumed in direct proportion to the rate of metabolic activity by way
of the ion pumping mechanisms covered in the previous chapter. A side effect of the ion
pumping process is that protons get released as specific nutrients are allowed into the cell
(e.g. calcium). If you remember how ion pumps work, you'll recall that they allow for the
other ions (e.g. hydrogen ions) outwards.
By using a chemical dye, in this case a pH indicator reagent, proton release can be visually
plant roots correlate to larger amounts of uptake, correlating to an increase in metabolic
activity. On our resources page we have a link to some studies with pictures and directions
on how you perform this study yourself.
This effect has also been observed in Goldsworthy's research where significant and
noticeable effects were shown, not only upon the plant's metabolic processes, but
regulatory ones as well. Since the ways that genes express themselves are affected by
electric fields, it follows suit that these changes would affect hormone synthesis as well.
Subsequently, metabolic activity isn't completely reliant on action potential generation
alone, but also by the way that the entire plant responds to the generation and transport of