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3.1.7 - Definitions and further reading

Definition of Terms

Pressure is force per unit area, Newtons per square meter, or N m-2. Its unit is the Pascal (Pa). 1 MPa is approximately equal to 10 kg weight per cm2.

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure in a stationary fluid. (Note that hydrostatic pressure is usually quoted as the difference from atmospheric pressure, and is therefore taken to be zero when it equals atmospheric pressure).

Turgor pressure is the term used for the hydrostatic pressure in the cells’ contents.

Osmotic pressure (\( π \)) is the hydrostatic pressure in a compartment containing an aqueous solution that will just prevent pure water at atmospheric pressure flowing into that compartment through its membrane that is permeable to the water but not to the solutes within.

Water potential is the difference between \( P \) and \( π \).

Further Reading

Kramer PF, Boyer JS (1995) Water relations of plants and soils.

Nobel PS (2005) Physicochemical and environmental plant physiology (3rd edition). Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, MA

Passioura JB (1980) The meaning of matric potential. J Exp Bot 31:1161-1169

Passioura JB (2010) Plant–Water Relations. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. Wiley, Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001288.pub2