Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Alberto Lagoa, research assistant to Goldsworthy, found that his tissue cultures became
uptake was increasing their growth by acting as a secondary messenger. He also suggested
that this may be the reason why gardens tend to look particularly lush and green after
a thunderstorm 28 . As a secondary messenger that switches on the enzymes within cells,
calcium could be another major reason behind the wide range of effects that tend to
occur with electrical stimulation. Goldsworthy described the mechanism in a statement as
“Calcium ions bound to the surfaces of cell membranes are important in maintaining
partoftheirmake-up.Withouttheseions,cell membranes areweakened andaremore
membranes are only two molecules thick!)…. Calcium also controls the rate of many
metabolic processes. 29
More details of how calcium affects physiological responses in the plant will be covered in
the next chapter.
Caveats of AP and Calcium-based Electrochemical Responses
One last point on the topic of APs and calcium signaling: there are some caveats to be
concerned with since it's possible that too much calcium can enter the cell during the
membrane depolarization phase. Depending upon the state of a cell, if there is too great of
an increase in calcium levels, Goldsworthy suggests that the possibility exists for the cell
He also states that the overall physiological state of the plant itself is important, too. If the
plant is in a state of stress due to lack of water or nutrients, then once the AP is generated,
the cell can be impaired in its ability to remove the surplus calcium. This type of response
will likely adversely affect the health of the plant, possibly having lethal effects 30 . This
notion of plants having the potential for experiencing an electrical overdose has also been
discovered by the prominent physicist and plant physiologist from India, J.C. Bose.
Goldsworthy also notes that AP chain reactions (also called enzyme cascades) are
dependent on plant species and tissue type as they both have different enzymatic chains
available for activation. In other words, what works for one type of plant or tissue may not
work on another type. It is therefore suggested that plants and tissues may have differing
“calcium signatures” that are not the same across all plant life 31 .
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