Plant Food Supplies Calculates Internally

June 25, 2013 / No Comments

Did you know plants too think like we humans do? UK scientists who studied the plant Arabidopsis were amazed to see that plants, like humans, have an inbuilt capacity to do the math, which allows them to regulate food reserves at night. Such a blend of biology and arithmetic calculation comes as surprise.

rabidopsis seedlings Plant Food Supplies Calculates Internally

The John Innes Centre team has said that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals. This method may also be used by birds to preserve fat levels during migration, it is believed.

The plant, overnight, cannot use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into sugar and starch. So it needs to regulate its starch reserve so as to ensure availability till dawn. Studies reveal that plants adjust its starch consumption so accurately akin to using a calculator inside!

At night, the process inside the leaf measures the size of the starch store. An internal clock is deployed to do this, the scientists said.

The scientists found that the process is mediated by the concentrations of two kinds of molecules – “S” for Starch and “T” for time. The division is worked out when the S molecules stimulate starch breakdown, and the rate of consumption is divided by the T molecules which prevents from breakdown.

Dr. Richard Buggs of Queen Mary, University of London says that plants have a mechanism designed to automatically regulate how fast they burn carbohydrates  at night. Awesome, right?