Plant clock could be the key to producing more food for the world


Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A study by the University of Melbourne established how plants use their metabolism to tell time and know when to grow – a finding that could help take advantage of crops growing in different environments, including different seasons, different latitudes. or even in artificial environments and vertical gardens.

Posted in PNAS journal, the study, titled “Superoxide is promoted by sucrose and affects the amplitude of circadian rhythms in the evening,” details how plants use their metabolism to sense the weather at dusk and help conserve energy produced by the sunlight during the day.

Lead researcher Dr Mike Haydon of the School of BioSciences said that while plants don’t sleep like humans, their metabolism is adjusted overnight to conserve energy for the big day before making their own food. using energy from the sun, or photosynthesis.

“It is really important to choose the right time for this daily cycle of metabolism, because an error is detrimental to growth and survival,” said Dr Haydon. “Plants cannot fall on the refrigerator in the middle of the night if they are hungry, so they have to plan the length of the night so that there is enough energy to last until sunrise; a bit like setting an alarm clock.

Dr Haydon and his colleagues had previously shown that the accumulation of sugars produced by photosynthesis gives the plant important information about the amount of sugar generated in the morning and sends signals to what is called the circadian clock, to adjust its pace.

“We have now found that a different metabolic signal called superoxide acts at dusk and changes the activity of circadian clock genes at night,” said Dr Haydon. “We also found that this signal affects plant growth. We believe this signal could provide information to the plant about metabolic activity at sunset.”

The researchers hope the study will be invaluable in the world, producing more food, more reliably.

“As we strive to produce more food for the growing global population in the face of climate change, we may need to grow crops in different environments such as different seasons, different latitudes or even in man-made environments like vertical gardens.” said Dr Haydon. “Understanding how plants optimize metabolic rhythms could be useful information for us to adjust their circadian clocks for these conditions and maximize future yields.”

Plants set off ‘bedtime’ alarm to ensure survival, new study finds

More information:
Michael Haydon et al. Superoxide is promoted by sucrose and affects the amplitude of circadian rhythms in the evening. PNAS

Provided by the University of Melbourne

Quote: Plant Clock May Be Key to Producing More Food for the World (2021, March 2) Retrieved March 2, 2021 from world.html

This document is subject to copyright. Other than fair use for private study or research purposes, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for information only.