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Crop Biotech Update

Sugar Reponsible for Plant Growth

April 16, 2014

A University of Queensland (UQ) study has overturned the long-held belief that plant hormones control plant growth, and shown instead that this process starts with sugar. Led by Prof. Christine Beveridge of UQ's School of Biological Sciences, the research team found that shoot growth occurs when a high concentration of simple sugar (table sugar) - produced by the plant through photosynthesis - is available.

Their findings overturn the previous belief that plant hormone auxin regulates shoot branching. Beveridge and her team showed that shoot branching can begin up to 24 hours before auxin levels change, so it cannot be responsible for initiating this process. According to Beveridge, plants have a ‘goliath' main shoot, which hoards the sugars to promote its growth. When the main shoot is damaged or removed, sugars are quickly redistributed to start the growth of new shoots.

For more information about this research, read the UQ news article at http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/04/sugar-responsible-shooting.