Wednesday , December 13 2017
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Plants Use Math to Ration Food Use




  • plants_use_math_wideA new study came out showing how plants utilize an efficient form of mathematics to precisely calculate how much starch to consume as food during the night.1

    During the daytime, plants make carbohydrates through photosynthesis and store a portion of them as starch molecules. The cells then metabolize that starch as a food source during the night to fuel cell growth and development. One researcher said, “If the starch store is used too fast, plants will starve and stop growing during the night. If the store is used too slowly, some of it will be wasted.”1

    However, the plant must use its food reserves judiciously and dynamically by controlling the rate of its metabolism along with the amount of starch used during the night. Researchers are now beginning to unravel how plants manage this process, and they were surprised to find that the mustard plant they studied followed principles of mathematical equations. Researcher Allison Smith said, “The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity.”1

    In the natural environment, plants have to partition out their starch reserves during the night so that they are consumed at a consistent rate and last throughout this dark period. This is done by dynamically feeding critical variable information into the cellular-control system such as day length (which changes during the year), the amount of starch available, temperature, and even water availability.

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