Mucigel is a complex polysaccharide containing sugars, organic acids, vitamins, enzymes,
and amino acids, which is produced by cells in the root caps of plants.
Mucigel has several functions:
- It protects roots from desiccation and contains compounds that diffuse
into the soil and inhibit growth in other roots.
- It lubricates roots as they force their way between soil particles.
- Soil particles cling to mucigel, and increase the root's contact with
the soil. These properties of mucigel help maintain the continuity between
roots and soil water.
- Carboxyl groups in mucigel influence ion uptake, and organic acids
in mucigel make certain ions more available to plants. Also, fatty acids,
lectins, and sterols in mucigel may help establish beneficial symbioses
with soil microbes.