Incredible video shows plants ‘breathing’ up close

They are stunning shots.

A stunning new video shows crops ‘breathing’ in real time – and the footage could have huge implications for how farmers feed the world in the future.

The closeup was taken by biologists at the University of California San Diego during research funded by the US National Science Foundation.

While filming the flora, the biologists discovered how plants use their stomata — tiny openings commonly known as their “mouths” — to direct their carbon dioxide respiration.

According to National Science Foundation spokesman Jared Dashoff, scientists may know how plants use their stomata to open and close in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide to create plants hardy enough for a changing environment.

“Researchers hope that harnessing this mechanism could lead to future improvements in water-use efficiency and plant carbon uptake, which is crucial as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration continues to increase,” he told the South West News Service.

A highly magnified view of a single stoma on the sheet.  The stoma opens and closes in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide and humidity.
A highly magnified view of a single stoma on the sheet. The stoma opens and closes in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide and humidity.
Douglas Clark/NSF/SWNS
An enlarged view of many plant stomata on the leaf of a Begonia rex cultorum plant.  The width of each stoma is approximately 80 microns.
An enlarged view of many plant stomata on the leaf of a Begonia rex cultorum plant. The width of each stoma is approximately 80 microns.
Douglas Clark/NSF/SWNS

“When the stomata are open, the inside of the plant is exposed to the elements and water is lost from the plant to the surrounding air, which can dry it out,” Dashoff explains. “Plants must therefore balance the uptake of carbon dioxide with the loss of water vapor by controlling how long the stomata remain open.”

Research leader Julian Schroeder added: “Response to change is critical to plant growth and regulates how efficiently the plant can use water, which is important in the face of increasing drought and rising temperatures.”

As the climate changes, both atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and temperature increase, affecting the balance between carbon dioxide input and water vapor loss through the stomata.

When crops, particularly crops such as wheat, rice and corn, cannot find a new balance, they risk drying out, farmers risk losing valuable crops, and more and more people around the world risk starvation.

The video, shot during research funded by the US National Science Foundation, could have huge implications for future agriculture and food production.
The video, shot during research funded by the US National Science Foundation, could have huge implications for future agriculture and food production.

“Scientists have long known about stomata and the balance between carbon dioxide uptake and water loss,” Dashoff said. “But what they didn’t know until now is how plants sense carbon dioxide to signal stomata to open and close in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide.”

“Knowing this will now allow researchers to manipulate these signals – so plants can find the right balance between uptake of carbon dioxide and loss of water – and allow scientists and plant breeders to produce plants that are hardy enough for the environment.” of the future.”

Dashoff added that the researchers were so excited about their findings that they have now applied for a patent and are investigating ways to translate their findings into tools for plant breeders and farmers.

Knowing how plants use their stomata to open and close in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide could allow scientists to produce plants resilient enough for a changing environment.
Knowing how plants use their stomata to open and close in response to changing levels of carbon dioxide could allow scientists to produce plants resilient enough for a changing environment.
Douglas Clark/NSF/SWNS

Richard Cyr, a program director at the National Science Foundation, said the results are nothing short of groundbreaking.

“Determining how plants control their stomata under changing CO2 levels creates a different kind of opening – one for new avenues of research and ways to address societal challenges,” he explained.

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