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Question

What is meant by unidirectional transport and bidirectional transport of food? 


Solution

Unidirectional transport involves transport of food in single direction .ie, Xylem  transports water and nutritients unidirectionally. That means  transport of water in the xylem takes place only from root to leaves.
 Bidirectional transport of food invoves upward and downward movement of food through the same channel. Phloem transports food(Photosynthates) bi directionally.
In Detail
 Xylem

Water transported through xylem is utilised in photosynthesis and most of the water is lost through transpiration. Renewed demand for water is once again supplied through the same channel. Hence, transport through xylem is unidirectional.

Phloem

In phloem, during growth of the plant,food is transported from source to sink(part of plant requires or stores food). Leaves are the usual source and storage organs are the usual sink. But the storage organs become source when new buds emerge during early spring. This process get reversed as the food stored in sink is mobilised toward the growing buds of the plant through the phloem.Thus, a reverse flow of food is required.
Hence, movement through phloem is bi-directional.

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