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CONDUCT OF PLANTS IN THE LACK OF LIGHT


The extraordinary adaptation strategies of plants to unfavorable environmental conditions. Long analysis and observations on the conduct of Arabidopsis thaliana when photosynthesis slows down due to lack of lighting in a study of Sant'Anna Institute of Pisa.

by: SeedsCactus.com11/01/2014

Many times, in the most unexpected places of our cities, we noticed growing plant species on the roofs, in gutters or even in the small cavities of the asphalt road. Well, maybe a few of us can imagine, however, that some plants can survive even in difficult lighting conditions or even totally without light: the case of underground tunnels in Naples, where the presence of Arabidopsis thaliana has intrigued scientists of Sant'Anna Institute of Pisa who decided to investigate the characteristics of this little plant, very common on the Italian territory.

Scientists have long observed the behavior of Arabidopsis thaliana in different lighting conditions. When light is scarce, photosynthesis can not fully cover the nutritional requirements and the plant enters into a state of stasis: the production of growth hormone ("gibberellin"), which have been monitored with periodic samples that follow circadian rhythms, slow down or terminates completely. Consequently, the plant tends to not grow until the environmental conditions become favourable.

But there's more: the gibberellin, in addition to stimulating growth, is also responsible for other key activities of the plant, as the vigor and defense against disease. This is the reason why the plants that grow in low light conditions, as well as small, are also vulnerable.

From this point of view, cacti (which more than any other plant species need light), show a very peculiar behavior: they tend to "etiolate". The tissues lose vigor and the lack of chlorophyll tends to make them turn yellow, the plant focuses its growth efforts on just a few points and the stems elongate unnaturally looking for light.

However, prolonged environmental conditions of low light does not necessarily lead to plant to the death: the study shows that Arabidopsis thaliana, while not growing vigorously, adapts itself to the changing conditions and continues to grow, although much more slowly. That's because it manages to survive even in dark places and so doing still allow the public to ask "but how can it grow there?".

 

Arabidopsis thaliana

Arabidopsis thaliana

 

 

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