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article imageWhy do seedling grow towards the light?

By Tim Sandle     Nov 18, 2013 in Environment
Botanists have discovered how cells in the stems of seedlings use blue light to grow towards the light. The discovery was made by examining seedling stems and a blue light used fitted to a microscope.
Plants have a light-sensing system, which can respond to different times of day and seasonal changes. This can determine fruit maturation and changing color in the leaves and so on. For plants, blue light has a revitalizing effect.
Using special microscopes with blue laser light, scientists have visualized the structures that are important for the growth direction of plant cells. What seems to be happening is that blue light (part of sunlight) causes small structures in the seedling cells, called microtubules, to grow perpendicular to their normal growth direction. As a result, the growth direction of seedlings also changes, making them head towards a light source.
Furthermore, it seems that the growth and development of plants depends strongly on the quality and quantity of light they detect. Plants depend on light for photosynthesis but are unable to move themselves. Instead, they grow towards the light.
The research was carried out at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University and Wageningen University. The results have been published in the journal Science. The paper is titled “A Mechanism for Reorientation of Cortical Microtubule Arrays Driven by Microtubule Severing.”
More about seedlings, Plant, Light, Growth, Photosynthesis
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