Root hair cells are a type of specialised cell found in the roots of plants. A root hair cell has a long structure sticking out of it. This structure looks like a hair and is therefore called a root hair. A plant's root hairs stick out into the soil from the main body of the root.
Microscope image of a plant root. A root hair cell can be seen sticking out of the root.
The function of a root hair cell is to absorb water and mineral ions from the soil.
Root hair cells absorb water through a process called osmosis and mineral ions through a process called active transport. These processes will be covered later in the course.
A diagram of a root hair cell is shown below:
A root hair cell
The adaptations of root hair cells include the following:
|Adaptation||How it enables a root hair cell to carry out its function of absorbing water and mineral ions.|
|A root hair (long, hair-like structure) sticking out into the soil.||Greatly increases the surface area for the absorption of water and mineral ions.|
|A thin cell wall.||Reduces the distance that water and mineral ions have to travel to enter the cell, which enables them to be absorbed more quickly.|
|A large vacuole.||Enables the cell to store the water that it absorbs.|
|A large number of mitochondria.||The many mitochondria carry out aerobic respiration to release energy from food molecules. This energy is used to actively transport mineral ions into the cell.|
Flashcards help you memorise information quickly. Copy each question onto its own flashcard and then write the answer on the other side. Testing yourself on these regularly will enable you to learn much more quickly than just reading and making notes.
What is the function of a root hair cell?
What adaptations does a root hair cell have that enable it to carry out its function?
How does the root hair enable the root hair cell to carry out its function?
How does having a thin cell wall enable a root hair cell to carry out its function?
How does having a large vacuole enable a root hair cell to carry out its function?
How does having many mitochondria enable a root hair cell to carry out its function?
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