This review discusses how the pressure probe has evolved from an instrument for measuring cell turgor and other water relations parameters into a device for sampling the contents of individual higher plant cells in situ in the living plant. Together with a suite of microanalytical techniques it has permitted the mapping of water and solute relations at the resolution of single cells and has the potential to link quantitatively the traditionally separate areas of water relations and metabolism. The development of the probe is outlined and its modification to measure root pressure and xylem tension described. The deployment of the pressure probe to determine and map turgor, hydraulic conductivity, reflection coefficient, cell rheological properties, solute concentrations and enzyme activities at the resolution of single cells is discussed. The controversy surrounding the interpretation of results obtained with the xylem-pressure probe is included. Possible further developments of the probe and applications of single cell sampling are suggested.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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