The apical meristem of the root affords an excellent material with which to study changes in cellular components accompanying growth and differentiation. The ontogeny of cytoplasmic particles can be followed, since the younger cells are constantly dividing and reforming new cytoplasm. Electron microscope pictures of these newly formed cells reveal a dense background of microsomal granules and small, thin walled vesicles of the endoplasmic reticulum. Two types of mitochondria are noted and, as the cells enlarge, mitochondria regarded as immature can no longer be seen, but only mitochondria with well developed cristae. The development of these cristae was found to be associated with an increase in respiration of the tissue as well as with increased rates of oxidation and phosphorylation of isolated mitochondria. As the cells grow and mature, the mitochondria make up an increasing percentage of the total cytoplasmic protein, and this increase probably accounts to a great extent for the increase in tissue respiration. Concomitantly, there is a decrease in microsomal granules.
All these changes have been verified by electron microscope pictures of cells in situ, chemical analysis of isolated particulates, and metabolic studies of tissue and isolated fractions.