The Carbohydrate Metabolism Mediates Between the Gain of Light Energy and the Production of Biomass

A close investigation of the connection between carbohydrate metabolism and growth dynamics is necessary to move towards a mechanistic understanding of the spatial and temporal relations between energy gain in photosynthesis and biomass production during growth processes. Carbohydrates are the transportable currency unit that is produced in photosynthesis. The majority of plant dry matter consists of carbohydrates, mainly cellulose, hemicellulose and starch. Carbohydrate metabolism is governed by diel or circadian rhythms and concentrations of carbohydrates in leaves typically reach maxima at day (Kemp and Blacklow 1980; Matt et al. 1998; Geiger et al. 2000; Chia et al. 2004; Walter and Schurr 2005). The circadian clock not only governs carbohydrate metabolism but a large number of metabolic, physiological or ontogenetic processes in plants (Somers 1999; McClung 2001; Staiger 2002; Schultz and Kay 2003; Luttge 2003). The performance of a plant is clearly increased by optimized temporal fine-tuning of circadian processes with the 24-h-cycle of light and dark (Ouyang et al. 1998; Green et al. 2002; Dodd et al. 2005).

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