Potassium ion and Na+ influx and efflux rates into and from excised barley roots are compared with the maximum capacity of accumulation. Potassium ion and Na+ influx and efflux involve a cation exchange that is independent of simultaneous exchange of the accompanying anion. These exchange fluxes depend on the concentration and cation composition of the solutions from which they originate. Selective differences between K+ and Na+ fluxes are sufficient to account for a cationic distribution within the roots that differs markedly from that of the external solution and that persists for extended time periods. The accumulation maximum is a cation exchange equilibrium with the cation influx and efflux rates approaching equality. The equilibrium level is independent of the individual cation fluxes and the external solution concentration. It is a finite quantity which appears to be determined by the internal anion concentration including accumulated as well as endogenous anions.

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