Plants can also make “secret decisions.” Surprised to hear this? Well, researchers have discovered in a new study that plants have an unforeseen set of processes they use to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere during photosynthesis. The discovery was made while studying a classic plant model organism called thale cress.Arabidopsis Arabidopsis)_. _The recent research was led by plant molecular scientist Xuyen Le from the University of Western Australia and plant biochemist Harvey Millar from the same university.
The research was published in Nature Plants. To conduct the study, the team monitored the molecule by labeling pyruvate with C13, a carbon isotope. With this, they were able to see the consequences. The researchers also noted that the use of pyruvate was based on its source. The team was able to figure out that plants have a process that helps identify the source of each pyruvate molecule. Determine the final result based on the source.
“Our study found that carbon dioxide release decisions are governed by a previously unknown process, a metabolic pathway that directs a sugar product called pyruvate to be oxidized to carbon dioxide or to keep making plant biomass,” Millar said. “
Plants start storing carbon as a result of the photosynthesis process. This carbon is stored in the form of sugar or sucrose. Some of them are stored, while the rest are degraded. This forms part of the critical citric acid cycle in plants. In the citric acid cycle, sucrose is broken down into its simpler sugar form, glucose. Glucose is further broken down into pyruvate.
“We found that a transporter on mitochondria directs pyruvate respiration to release carbon dioxide, but pyruvate produced in other ways is retained by plant cells to generate biomass – if the transporter is blocked, Plants use other sources of pyruvate for respiration.”