Biotech Updates

Plants Use Hydrogen Peroxide as Protection Against the Sun

July 5, 2017

A new study conducted by the University of Exeter and the University of Essex has discovered that hydrogen peroxide, a compound best known for its bleaching property, is used by plants to control how their cells react to varying levels of light. Hydrogen peroxide is a by-product of photosynthesis in the chloroplasts.

"It's important for plants to be able to detect how much light there is, so they can make the most of it for photosynthesis," said Professor Nick Smirnoff, of the University of Exeter.

The researchers used a fluorescent protein that detects hydrogen peroxide and observed how it moves from chloroplasts and can be detected in cell nuclei. The process showed how plants activate genes needed for leaves to adapt to bright light, which has potential damaging effects. The communication of chloroplasts with one another ensures that plants continue to protect photosynthesis, and adjust to light conditions at the same time.

For more details, read the University of Exeter Research News.