How is food transported in plants?

How Is Food Transported in Plants and Process Life

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In all living beings, the most vital process is transportation, and it involves the flow of minerals, water, and other essential nutrients to the different parts of the plant. If you want to know more about how is food transported in plants then read our article till last. You will get to know all the information about how is food transported in plants.

How is food transported in plants?

The food transportation of all the plants from leaves to the different other parts happens through the tissue, which is vascular called phloem. The leaves make food (sugar) which is full of sieve tubes of tissue named phloem by using the ATP energy. And the tissues have less pressure, so the pressure in the phloem of materials moves to tissues.

However, the plant transport system includes two kinds of significant tissues, which are phloem and xylem. Moreover, the system includes other parts that are stomata and roots. There are tissues in plants to transport minerals, nutrients, and water. Phloem transports amino acids and sucrose between the different parts of the plant and the leaves. Xylem transports minerals, salts, and water between the different parts of the plant from the roots. And this tells you briefly how is food transported in plants.

What is translocation?

The process of food transportation to the different parts of the plants from the leaves is translocation. It is a biological process that happens in all types of plants, and it involves water movement and other different types of soluble. Phloem helps in food materials translocation to the different parts of the plant from the leaves. Translocation is the process of materials movement to the different tissues all over the plant from leaves. However, the nonphotosynthetic plants part also in need of organic, nonorganic materials and carbohydrates. Plants make in their leaves carbohydrates (sugar) by the process of photosynthesis.

How is food transported in plants?

Food is transported in plants in the form of:

The plant’s leaves synthesize the carbohydrates, and it transports to the different regions in the plant body after it converts into sucrose. It transports the water very easily because it is soluble in water. Hence, food transportation in plants takes place in sucrose form. Amino acids transport by phloem translocation. The food flows a bidirectional way after it enters sieve elements.

Fructose and glucose form sucrose in the photosynthesizing cell’s cytosol and then it transports to different other parts of the plant. There are two reasons this process is good: In sucrose, you will find it very energy-efficient than a monosaccharide since it has more energy, both as storage in transport. This is the description of the form of how is food transported in plants.

Transport of food in plants takes place through:

Tissues are present in plants to transport minerals, nutrients, and water. Xylem transports mineral salts and water to the different parts of the plant from the roots, but phloem transports amino acids and sucrose to the different parts of the plant and leaves. Xylem and phloem, both tissues, help the plant in the transportation of food. And both the tissues lie in the plant root center.

Xylem is mature and elongated cells that are present dead in it. It is a nonliving tube and end to end arranged to form several continuous tubes. Xylem vessels that are matured don’t contain any cytoplasm. These are water-impermeable and contain a material which is woody called lignin in the tough walls.

Phloem helps in the transportation process. It transports amino acids and sucrose in the plant’s down and up. This process is known as translocation. This occurs between the place where the plant store the substances (it sinks) and the place where the plant makes this substance. The transport of sucrose, for instance, during springtime, sinks in the plant leaves from root sources, and during summer, it sinks in the plant root from leaves sources.

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Both xylem and phloem help in the process of how is food transported in plants.

Phloem plays an important role:

In plants, the food molecules that leaves synthesize and the transportation of the food molecules occur with the help of phloem in storing different types of organs- fruits, roots, and stem. The living tissue, which is complex in nature named phloem. Phloems are present in all plants, and it consists of specialized different types of cells like phloem parenchyma cells, phloem fibers, sieve tubes, and companion cells. Phloem plays an essential role in the process of how is food transported in plants.

Functions of phloem:

  • Phloem helps in the transportation of food in both downward and upward directions.
  • Food materials translocation to the different parts of the plant from leaves takes place through the phloem.
  • Transportation requires ATP in the energy form.

ATP  is essential for phloem:

The food transportation to the different parts of the plant from the leaves occurs through the phloem. The leaves derive the energy from ATP and make the food (sugar) which loads into the phloem sieve tubes. It results in the increase of osmotic pressure in the tissue, causing the movement of water into it. This process helps the plants to move food materials when they need them.

Xylem vessels:

Dead cells end to end joined make the xylem vessels. It is a long nonliving tube that runs through stems to reach all the leaves from the plant roots. An open tube forms as the end cell walls are broken. These vessels don’t contain nuclei or cytoplasm, and the lignin or cellulose makes the vessels walls. Xylem vessel keeps the stem upright and also provides the stem strength because lignin is strong and hard. Lignified vessels of xylem make the wood. These vessels have cell wall pits where the deposit of lignin is absent. Water transportation in flowering plants is through either tracheid and xylem vessels or only xylem vessels.


The plants which are nonflowering tracheids only are the tissues in them that conduct water. No open ends are present in tracheids, and they are lignified walls of dead cells. Tracheids are thin, spindle-shaped, and long cells. The flow of water takes place from one to another tracheid through the pits present in them. Tracheid is present in all the plants.

Necessary meanings related to the mechanism of minerals and water transportation in a plant:

  • Epidermis- Epidermis is the outer cell layer in a plant root. One cell equals to the epidermis thickness.
  • Endodermis- Endodermis is the cortex’s inner layer. It is cells layer in the plant root around the tissues ( phloem and xylem)
  • Root cortex- The cortex is the root part between the endodermis and epidermis.
  • Root xylem- Xylem tissue situates at the root center.

Between the xylem root and hair, the root situates the endodermis, epidermis, and root cortex. The root hairs absorb the water from the soil passed first through the endodermis, epidermis, and root cortex, and it finally reaches the root xylem.

Minerals are also present in the soil. Plants take the minerals in inorganic form like phosphates and nitrates from the soil. Soil minerals get water dissolve to become an aqueous solution. The transportation of the water dissolved minerals also occurs when the transportation of water from roots to the leaves occurs.

Mechanism of minerals and water transportation in plants:

The root hair of the plant absorbs the dissolved minerals water. The water which situates between the particles of soil comes in direct contact with the root hair. Mineral water comes into the root hair and gets passed through the osmosis process from one cell to another cell and finally reaches the root cortex, endodermis, epidermis, and root xylem.

There is a connection between root xylem vessels and stem xylem vessels of the plant. The water comes into the stem xylem vessel from the xylem vessel and reaches the plant leaves from the petiole. The plant mainly uses in the process of photosynthesis only water of two or one percent.

Xylem vessel sucks the water:

The pressure at the plant bottom is high, but the pressure at the plant top is low. The reason is the transpiration, for which there is low pressure at the plant top. The water evaporation continuously from plant leaves is known as transpiration. Plant leaves have very tiny pores named stomata. Through these stomata, the evaporation of water in the air takes place. The pressure of the xylem top vessels reduces due to this. And thus the water flows up finally into them.

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Transport of the substances including food:

The photosynthesis process prepares the food in the plant leaves and transports it to all the other different plant parts like branches, roots, stems, etc. The transport of food through a type of tube to the other different parts of the plant is the translocation. Leaves make the food in simple sugar form. Phloem presents in all the plant parts.

Phloem has sieve tubes:

Sieve tubes are the phloem’s living cells. Many living cells connect one end to another and make a long tube named phloem. The phloem’s end cell walls have tiny holes in the sieve plates; through these tiny holes along the phloem tubes, the food which passes. Sieve tubes don’t have a nucleus, but it contains in them cytoplasm. The sieve tube cell wall contains no lignin but cellulose. Each cell of the sieve tube consists of a companion cell with many different types of organelles and a nucleus.

The leaf mesophyll cells make the food, and from the cells, food enters the phloem’s sieve tubes. After the food reaches a leaf’s phloem tube and these phloem tubes connect with each other. Then it transports to all the different parts of a plant. Food transportation is essential, and every inch of the plant needs food for parts building, life maintenance, and energy. The root tips make the different substances like hormones which transport through the tubes of phloem.

Raw materials for photosynthesis:

The raw materials of plants for photosynthesis are as follows:

  • Water- Roots absorb the water from the soil
  • Carbon dioxide- Carbon dioxide gas enters the plant through the leaves stomata.
  • Chlorophyll- Chlorophyll is present already in all the leaves.
  • Sunlight- Sunlight comes from the sun.

After photosynthesis the cells of all the leaf contains starch, this starch converts into sucrose later. Phloem sieve tubes transport the sucrose actively. As a result, sucrose produces a concentrated medium in the sieve tube. Then the water molecules enter the sieve tubes from the xylem that helps in the food transportation to the storage part from leaves. Sucrose inside the storage part transports actively to the storage tubes from sieve tubes. Phloem transportation is bidirectional because, in the season of spring, sucrose in the storage part of the plant transports it to the leaves of the plant, which are young.

Transpiration occurs during the daytime in plants, so the transpiration pull takes place during the daytime, and the pressure of the root occurs during nighttime. We know that all the plants need energy. Plants get the energy from the food that they make in the photosynthesis process.

Plants transport the raw materials to the leaves for the photosynthesis process. For plant transport, they need a system of transport to move minerals, food, and water around because plants have no blood, no heart, and no circulatory system. Transportation is the process for the plant.

Pressure flow hypothesis:

The transportation of food takes place by a mechanism known as the pressure-flow hypothesis. It explains the food molecules translocation by phloem. The pressures are as follows:

  • Hydrostatic pressure- It increases in the sieve tubes of the phloem, the flow of the pressure begins, and the sap travels through the phloem.
  • Osmotic pressure- It reduces at the sink. Sap removes from the phloem sucrose. The cells that utilize the sap and convert the sap into starch, cellulose, or energy.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how is food transported in plants and more. The plant body consists of leaves, stems, and roots. The plant’s roots in the soil help in the transfer of minerals and water to the whole plant parts from the soil. We hope this article helps you to know and understand how is food transported in plants in detail.

Shusree Mukherjee

Writing allows me to pour my heart out in words. So, that's what I've been doing for the past 6 years. I strive to bring in a change in the world by taking tiny steps of curating the right message that needs to be conveyed.

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