PLANTS do complex calculations to make sure they have enough food to get them through the night, new research published in journal eLife shows.
Scientists at Britain’s John Innes Centre said plants adjusted their rate of starch consumption to prevent starvation at night when they were unable to feed themselves with the sun’s energy. They could even compensate for an unexpected early night.
“This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” mathematical modeller Martin Howard said.
During the night, mechanisms in the leaf measure the starch stores and estimate the time until dawn. Information comes from an internal clock.