The publication of their work appeared in the journal Plant Physiology, which describes the mechanism of plant adaptation to limited light in winter.
Studying the camelina sativa plant, which belongs to the cruciferous family and is used to produce vegetable oil, the scientists used mass spectrometry and metabolomics to study the metabolic changes that occur under short daylight conditions.
It turned out that in response to a decrease in daylight hours, plants increase the intensity of photosynthesis and at the same time reduce the rate of respiration, directing additional resources to the growth of shoots – the main site for photosynthesis.
In addition, camelina begins to accumulate sugar in the form of starch during the day in order to use it as an energy source at night, when the process of photosynthesis cannot occur due to the lack of light. This allows the plant to maintain the necessary carbon balance during the long night, reducing metabolic activity and the exchange of substances between vacuoles and other cellular structures.
The findings of American botanists may be the key to creating new, more adaptable and productive varieties of crops, which is especially important in the face of climate change and reduction in daylight hours in certain seasons of the year.