DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APOPLAST AND SYMPLAST PATHWAYS:
The root and root hairs absorbs the water from the soil and is transported to all the other parts of the plant. It is by the process of diffusion water enters the root hair; from the root hair it has to be transported to the xylem tissue by two different pathways. They are the apoplast pathway and the symplast pathway.
It’s a pathway contributed by the system of adjacent cell walls of all the cells, but it excludes the casparian strips. The apoplastic movement of water takes place through the non-living cell wall; it will not cross the living plasma membrane. It is through this apoplast pathway major part of the water that is enters the xylem. In the cortex region the apoplastic movement of water is smooth because of the loosely packed cortical cells. But the apoplastic pathway is blocked by the casparian strips of the endodermal cells.
Symplast is a formed by a network of cytoplasm of all adjacent cells which are interconnected by plasmodesmatal connection. In this pathway there is no membrane to cross until the water reaches the xylem. The movement in symplastic pathway is aided by the cytoplasmic streaming. Since the water has to move across the plasma membrane the movement of water is very slow and only small amount of water is transported through symplast pathway.