Monday, May 18, 2015

Plants do Maths to get through the Night

Research shows that plants do accurate maths to prevent starvation at night.By doing so,they use up their starch reserves at a constant rate so that they run out of food almost precisely at dawn.
 During day they use sun's energy to make food.By energy from sun they convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch.Onc the sun sets,they must depend on a store of starch to prevent starvation.
   Scientists at John Innes Centre have shown that plants make precise adjustments to their rate of starch consumption. These ensure that the starch lasts until dawn even if night comes early unexpectedly or size of starch store varies.And to adjust starch consumption so precisely they must be performing arithmetic division.
   During night,mechanisms inside leaf measure the size of starch store and estimate length of time until dawn. Information about time comes from an internal clock,similar to our own body clock.The size of starch store is then divided by length of time until dawn to set correct rate of starch consumption,so that by dawn around 95% of starch is used up.If it is used up too fast plants will starve during night and stop growing,and if it is too slow,it may be wasted.