Carbohydrate Partitioning and Plant Growth

Alan N. Lakso James A. Flore

Plants convert sunshine radiant energy into chemical energy by the process of photosynthesis, and the first stable compounds formed are carbohydrates. As sugars, carbohydrates are transported within a plant and used both as building blocks of structure and for energy for respiration to fuel growth. Some sugars are synthesized into cellulose and related compounds that make up the great majority of the structure of plants. Energy is also stored in the form of sugars that can be used quickly by respiration or in polysaccharides such as starch that provide reserve stores of energy. For these reasons, carbohydrates are the most critical and ubiquitous compounds in plants. Carbohydrate partitioning (i.e., distribution) determines amounts and patterns of plant growth and yields of crops. Consequently, much research has been done to document and understand these patterns and regulation of the production and partitioning of carbohydrates in plants.

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