Plant Health Care in Richmond, VA

Why plants are smarter than us

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Comparing someone’s intellect to that of a potted plant is no longer such an insult.

Scientists at the John Innes Centre, a British research institute that focuses on plants and microbiology, found that plants must do complex arithmetic to calculate the amount of food needed to get them through the long, dark night.

“This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” said a JIC mathematical modeler, Martin Howard.

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The new research, published in eLife, reports that mechanisms in plants’ leaves estimate the size of the plant’s starch store and the length of time before the sun rises and energy again becomes available. In daylight, plants use the sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars and starches. Based on that information, the plant’s leaves appropriately adjust their rate of starch consumption to avoid starving before the sun comes up, but without being wasteful and harboring too much starch. At the end of the night, the plants project to have used 95 percent of their starch.

The precise calculations account for variations in daylight and accumulated starch stores.


Written by vaphc

June 25, 2013 at 5:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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