Most of us love plants but I bet most don't know them stomata. It's not such a common term and you can love plants, and respect them, and grow them successfully, even if you still don't know it. But why not learn more about these creatures we share the planet with? In addition to finding out what stomata are, we can also investigate some mechanisms such as transpiration and respiration of plants.
Stomata: what they are
This term is used almost exclusively in botany and is used to indicate some small openings that we can see in the green organs of plants. For example, let's focus on the leaves and observe the lower page. If it is not aquatic leaves, then we will notice precisely the stomata, the cracks that open and close. They do not do it independently or at random but according to a mechanism that is regulated by two types of cells, those of guard and those of closure. These cells are explicitly responsible for opening and closing the stomata. What triggers one or the other action is a mix of factors including the climate and environmental conditions but also the "internal" needs of the plants themselves.
These "magical" openings are very important, even if not very visible and even less known, because they must guarantee the plant that gaseous exchanges occur with the external environment. Practically, allow the plant to breathe.
Stomata and respiration of plants
For plants, respiration is an essential reaction because it is thanks to it that a vital process takes place. Which? What causes some sugar molecules - but also fats and proteins etc - that had been accumulated and produced with the photosynthesis are destroyed in the presence of oxygen to allow energy to be released. This energy does not come from nowhere, but it is what chemical bonds of the protagonist molecules.
The energy that plants obtain through breathing is very useful to all plants, regardless of the family and genus to which they belong, because it allows all the actions that are needed to grow and develop. When all this happens, we must also remember that the plants themselves rthey release water and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Sounds too simple? Yes, in fact there is more.
During the respiration of plants, as a result of the reaction we have described, the formation of complex organic compounds which in turn serve to make growth possible. Among these we find, for example, the amino acids from which proteins, nucleic acids, the "famous" DNA and RNA, the fatty acids from which lipids are obtained, and many other sugars that are the basis of complex sugars such as starch are obtained. , cellulose etc.
Having learned all this, talking about breathing seems trivial but above all we are surprised that even small plants such wonders happen. There breathing it is a very complex but important mechanism because it is the one that provides plants with the energy they need to live and develop. This process affects every cell of the plant, not only those of the leaves, but also those of the stem, of the branches, of the roots. If there is no oxygen, however, nothing is triggered, not for nothing in such conditions the plant does not survive for long.
There is also talk of breathing for animals, including humans, because in fact the processes are similar, but for us the starting point is food. Indeed, it is precisely by eating that we ingest sugars and proteins, and more, then with digestion we transform them into simple substances that enter the bloodstream to reach the individual cells where breathing takes place and energy is released.
Stomata and transpiration of plants
There perspiration, not to be confused with breathing, it is another very important function always performed by the leaves. This time we are dealing with the water absorbed by the roots. When it reaches the leaves, it is expelled as water vapor and this can only happen thanks to stomata we talked about at the beginning. These "valves" open and close as needed to allow the plant to transpire and allow it to live.
Perspiration is for capture carbon dioxide present in the air and transport it inside the plant tissues so that the chlorophyll photosynthesis. Similarly, thanks to transpiration, oxygen penetrates the plant and makes breathing possible.
With perspiration, thanks to stomata, from the roots the water and mineral salts reach the leaves, but not only. Also thanks to this process, the plants are able to keep the temperature regulated. The fertility of the soil is also ensured by transpiration because approx 60% of the water that falls to the ground with the rain is transpired, so the soil doesn't have time to become swampy and the humidity remains at reasonable levels, improving soil fertility.
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