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Liana Ecology Project
Water ascent in trees and lianas: the cohesion-tension theory revisited in the wake of Otto Renner
Bentrup, F. W.
The cohesion-tension theory of water ascent (C-T) has been challenged over the past decades by a large body of experimental evidence obtained by means of several minimum or non-invasive techniques. The evidence strongly suggests that land plants acquire water through interplay of several mechanisms covered by the multi-force theory of (U. Zimmermann et al. New Phytologist 162: 575–615, 2004). The diversity of mechanisms includes, for instance, water acquisition by inverse transpiration and thermodynamically uphill transmembrane water secretion by cation-chloride cotransporters (L.H. Wegner, Progress in Botany 76:109–141, 2014). This whole plant perspective was opened by Otto Renner at the beginning of the last century who supported experimentally the strictly xylem-bound C-T mechanism, yet anticipated that the water ascent involves both the xylem con- duit and parenchyma tissues. The survey also illustrates the known paradigm that new techniques generate new insights, as well as a paradigm experienced by Max Planck that a new scientific idea is not welcomed by the community instantly.
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