J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (5): 292-310.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12532
• Invited Expert Reviews •
Michael Knoblauch* and Winfried S. Peters*
In the 1920s, the German forestry scientist Ernst Münch postulated that photo-assimilate transport is a mass flow driven by osmotically induced pressure gradients between source organs (high turgor) and sink organs (lower turgor). Two crucial components of Münch's hypothesis, the translocation by mass flow from sources to sinks and the osmotic mechanism of pressure flow, were established notions at the time, but had been developed by two institutionally separated groups of scholars. A conceptual separation of whole-plant biology from cellular physiology had followed the institutional separation of forestry science from botany in German-speaking central Europe during the so-called Humboldtian reforms, and was reinforced by the delayed institutionalization of plant physiology as an academic discipline. Münch did not invent a novel concept, but accomplished an integration of the organism-focused and the cell-focused research traditions, reducing the polarization that had evolved when research universities emerged in central Europe. Post-Münch debates about the validity of his hypothesis focused increasingly on the suitability of available research methodologies, especially the electron microscope and the proper interpretation of the results it produced. The present work reconstructs the influence of the dynamic scientific and non-scientific context on the history of the Münch hypothesis.
Michael Knoblauch, and Winfried S. Peters. What actually is the Münch hypothesis? A short history of assimilate transport by mass flow[J]. J Integr Plant Biol., 2017, 59(5): 292-310.
Add to citation manager EndNote|Ris|BibTeX