Biotech Updates

Plant Pores Give Up Their Secrets

July 23, 2010

Plant pores or stomates regulate the plants' transpiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) release. In the process, stomates can have a major impact on plant productivity and climate change as they influence cooling and humidification of the vegetation, influence precipitation, regulate the rate of CO2 and uptake and water vapor release. Understanding the mechanisms that control the opening and closing of the stomata could be important in designing better crops that would adapt to extreme environmental stresses.

Current understanding on how the mechanism works does not anymore fit to the results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Marie Curie Fellow Roland Pieruschka of the Carnegie Institute said that "For a long time researchers have thought that heat from the sun, which is absorbed by pigments, moves from cell to cell until it gets to the cavities beneath the stomata where evaporation has been thought to take place. This probably happens to some degree, but the results presented in the research paper are more consistent with our hypothesis that much of this heat is transferred through air spaces inside the leaf that are saturated with water vapor."

The original article can be viewed at