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Crop Biotech Update

Study Reveals Plant Clock Key to Producing More Food for the World

March 3, 2021

A study led by Melbourne University has established how plants use their metabolism to tell time and know when to grow. This discovery could help in growing crops in different environments, including different seasons, latitudes, or even in artificial environments and vertical gardens.

The study led by Dr. Mike Haydon, from the School of BioSciences, details how plants use their metabolism to sense time at dusk and help conserve energy produced from sunlight during the day. Dr. Haydon said that while plants do not sleep as humans do, their metabolism adjusts during the night to conserve energy for the following day for photosynthesis.

"We have now found that a different metabolic signal, called superoxide, acts at dusk and changes the activity of circadian clock genes in the evening," said Dr. Haydon. He added that they also found that this signal affects plant growth, and they believe this signal could be providing information to the plant about the metabolic activity as the sun sets.

For more details about this study, read the article in The University of Melbourne Newsroom.

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