Saturday, June 22, 2013

Plants doing arithmetics

Image BBC Science

Another God, thy thoughts are very deep bookmark Plants 'do maths' to control overnight food supplies
Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night, research suggests.

UK scientists say they were "amazed" to find an example of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation in biology.

Mathematical models show that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals, a John Innes Centre team reports in e-Life journal.

... The researchers proposed that the process is mediated by the concentrations of two kinds of molecules called "S" for starch and "T" for time.

If the S molecules stimulate starch breakdown, while the T molecules prevent this from happening, then the rate of starch consumption is set by the ratio of S molecules to T molecules. In other words, S divided by T.

"This is the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation," said mathematical modeller Prof Martin Howard, of the John Innes Centre.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quantum biology (2)

Another God, They thoughts bookmark  Plants seen doing quantum physics
The idea that plants make use of quantum physics to harvest light more efficiently has received a boost.

Plants gather packets of light called photons, shuttling them deep into their cells where their energy is converted with extraordinary efficiency.

A report in Science journal adds weight to the idea that an effect called a "coherence" helps determine the most efficient path for the photons.
BBC Science and technology reporter Jason Palmer 21 June, 2013