Crop Biotech Update

How Plants Chill Out

May 25, 2012

A new research by the University of Bristol found that plants grown at high temperature elongate stems to allow their leaves to cool. The research team, led by Dr. Kerry Franklin and Prof. Alistair Hetherington used thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) to understand the physiological consequences of such plant response to temperature.

The Bristol team found that crops grown in high temperatures have elongated and spindly architecture and develop fewer leaf pores. However, despite their reduced number of leaf pores, the elongated Arabidopsis thaliana plants had greater water loss and leaf evaporative cooling. The researchers then suggest that the increased spacing of leaves in high temperature-grown plants promotes the diffusion of water vapor from leaf pores, and enhances the cooling process.

Dr. Franklin said that "understanding the relationship between temperature, plant architecture and water use is therefore essential for maximizing future crop production and ensuring food security in a changing climate."

Read more about this research from University of Bristol's website at http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2012/8517.html