Research

Scientists understand the mechanism of plant respiration. How does this help people?

Many centuries ago, scientists discovered a mechanism undercalled photosynthesis, which allows plants to convert the energy received from the sun's rays into substances for life support. However, the essence of the mechanism of respiration of plants for a long time remained a mystery. And now, after a thorough study, experts from the University of Sheffield managed to understand how plants breathe. Moreover, this discovery can help people not only in agriculture, but also in space areas.

Scientists have established how plants providea constant supply of nutrients to each cell and how they create networks of air channels inside the sheet to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) to their cells. Thus it turned out that each leaf is, in fact, an analogue of our lungs with you with an extensive system of microscopic vessels.

Animals and plants are much more similar to each other than we thought.

A new study conducted by scientists fromUniversity of Sheffield and published in Nature Communications, shows that the more stomata at the leaf, the more airspace and channels it forms. Leaf canals act in the same way as bronchioles (branches of the bronchi) in mammals. They carry gas to the surfaces of smaller canals (similar to our microscopic pulmonary vessels, called alveoli). This was known before, but it was not clear how these channels formed in the right places of the leaves.


A mouth is a time located on the surface of the leaf, through which water evaporates, and gas exchange with the environment takes place. That is, carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen is released

In collaboration with colleagues from NottinghamUniversity and Lancaster University, scientists have shown that the movement of carbon dioxide through the pores of plants, most likely, determines the shape of the network of air channels.

This is interesting: Why do plants not get cancer?

What is the use of this discovery?

The study was conducted on wheat leaves,one of the most common agricultural crops. The fact is that these plants were bred so that they were as unpretentious as possible. That is, they should require the least possible amount of water and nutrients not to the detriment of yield. This made the leaves more dense and with fewer air channels.

"This important discovery shows that the movementair through the leaves forms their internal structure, which is important for the evolution of plants. ”says one of the authors, Professor Andrew Fleming. “The fact that people, breeding wheat, inadvertently influenced how plants breathe, suggests that we could change the networks of the air channels of plants and create crops that can survive in conditions of extreme drought.”

Also, assuming that the studyScientists to develop new types of crops will be successful (and now experts are experimenting not only with wheat, but also with rice), then it can be assumed that resistant plant species can also be used under more extreme conditions. For example, with the colonization of other planets or at space stations.

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