15.1.2 Growth is Measurable

Growth, at a cellular level, is principally a consequence of increase in the amount of protoplasm. Since increase in protoplasm is difficult to measure directly, one generally measures some quantity which is more or less proportional to it.

Growth is, therefore, measured by a variety of parameters some of which are: increase in fresh weight, dry weight, length, area, volume and cell number.

You may find it amazing to know that one single maize root apical mersitem can give rise to more than 17,500 new cells per hour, whereas cells in a watermelon may increase in size by upto 3,50,000 times.

In the former, growth is expressed as increase in cell number; the latter expresses growth as increase in size of the cell. While the growth of a pollen tube is measured in terms of its length, an increase in surface area denotes the growth in a dorsiventral leaf.

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