Like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Scientists filmed a creepy video of a plant gasping for air
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This may look like some horror footage, but it's actually just a macro shot of plants “breathing”.
Researchers at the University of California, Sun -Diego was photographed and posted on the network a creepy video of how the plant gasps for air, writes the Daily Mail.
Although the video may resemble footage from the 1986 rock-horror comedy Little Shop of Horrors, it is essentially just a macro shot of a plant's response to changes in carbon dioxide and humidity levels.
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During the study, scientists took close-up pictures of individual stomata – the pores in the epidermis of the leaves at the moment when they opened and closed, in fact, very reminiscent of breathing.
However, according to the representative of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Jared Dashoff, this video is valuable not only because it is of interest to others, but also because the knowledge of how plants signal with their “mouths” to changes in oxygen and moisture levels will be very useful to scientists. The researchers believe that understanding these processes will further allow scientists to edit these signals and grow crops that are more resilient to climate change.
According to Julian Schroeder, leader of the new study, the response to change is critical for plant growth and is also responsible for a plant's water use efficiency. As we see more and more climate change in recent times, including increased drought and rising temperatures, this study is very important.
The scientists also note that these studies will allow scientists to study, and in the future to influence the balance between the intake of carbon dioxide and the loss of water vapor through the stomata. The fact is that if plants cannot find this balance, especially crops grown for food, they will simply wither and become useless.
Plant leaves have thousands of tiny openings called stomata. Closing pores, located on the sides of the stomatal pore, act like a gate – they open their central pore, then close to drink carbon dioxide. After a “sip”, the proteins signal the cells to relax and bury the stomata.
It is known that when the plant feels that the level of carbon dioxide is elevated, the second protein blocks the first one and does not allow the stomata to open or close. According to Schroeder, during the study, scientists found that the so-called CO2 sensor in plants consists of two proteins.
Scientists have found that a low carbon dioxide environment causes plants to keep their stomata open longer to get the necessary for photosynthesis amount of CO2. At this point, the HT1 protein activates an enzyme that causes the guard cells to swell and hold the stomata open. However, in this process, the inside of the plant becomes vulnerable – it is exposed to the elements and loses water. As a result, the plant can simply dry out – this is why it is so important to maintain balance.
Note that scientists have already applied for a patent and are currently studying ways to turn their discoveries into tools for breeders and farmers.