The contributions of mechanisms by which chelators influence metal translocation to plant shoot tissues are analyzed using a combination of numerical modelling and physical experiments. The model distinguishes between apoplastic and symplastic pathways of water and solute movement. It also includes the barrier effects of the endodermis and plasma membrane. Simulations are used to assess transport pathways for free and chelated metals, identifying mechanisms involved in chelate-enhanced phytoextraction. Hypothesized transport mechanisms and parameters specific to amendment treatments are estimated, with simulated results compared to experimental data. Parameter values for each amendment treatment are estimated based on literature and experimental values, and used for model calibration and simulation of amendment influences on solute transport pathways and mechanisms. Modeling indicates that chelation alters the pathways for Cu transport. For free ions, Cu transport to leaf tissue can be described using purely apoplastic or transcellular pathways. For strong chelators (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)), transport by the purely apoplastic pathway is insufficient to represent measured Cu transport to leaf tissue. Consistent with experimental observations, increased membrane permeability is required for simulating translocation in EDTA and DTPA treatments. Increasing the membrane permeability is key to enhancing phytoextraction efficiency.
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