Shear-enhanced dispersion of a wound substance as a candidate mechanism for variation potential transmission

gold Gold open access

A variation potential (VP) is an electrical signal unique to plants that occurs in response to wounding or flaming. The propagation mechanism itself, however, is known not to be electrical. Here we examine the hypothesis that VP transmission occurs via the transport of a chemical agent in the xylem. We assume the electrical signal is generated locally by the activation of an ion channel at the plasma membrane of cells adjacent to the xylem. We work on the assumption that the ion channels are triggered when the chemical concentration exceeds a threshold value. We use numerical computations to demonstrate the combined effect of advection and diffusion on chemical transport in a tube flow, and propose shear-enhanced Taylor-Aris dispersion as a candidate mechanism to explain VP rates observed in experiments.