How are food and other nutrients transported in plants?

Plants & TreeBotanyBiologyGeneral Topics

Transport in plants occurs at three levels: cellular, absorption of water and nutrients and transportation of water and nutrients.

  • The first level that is the cellular transport, wherein the solutes and ions are transferred from one cell to another through Diffusion and Osmosis process.

  • The second level is the absorption of water and nutrients from the soil by the roots. It is a well-known fact that as the surface area increases, the absorption increases.

  • The third level of transport is the transfer of water and nutrients from the root to the top of the plant for around hundred meters of length through a process called transpiration.


It must be noted that the mechanism of transfer of both water and other nutrients is not the same. In the case of transportation of water it is a passive transportation mechanism, while in the case of food and other nutrients, it is an active mode.

  • Xylem: Xylems are strong, thick tubes. They carry water and minerals from the plant's roots to the leaves of the same plant, where the actual process of photosynthesis takes place.

  • Phloem: Phloem is a thinner tube than xylem. They carry the glucose synthesized in photosynthesis. They move the glucose from the leaves to the plant's body. This glucose may then be stored as starch and may also be used as ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate).


Inside root cells, there is a higher concentration of minerals than outside, surrounding the plant which creates some sort of root pressure. This pressure forces the water up out of the root through the xylem. The more the minerals are pulled up from the soil to the root, a surge in upward transportation to all the parts of the plant will be observed. This force results in guttation, which is the formation of tiny droplets on leaves or grass early in the morning, often called as dew drops.

Updated on 30-Jul-2019 22:30:24