En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
29 ratings

Wednesday - October 24, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Information about glucose concentration in plants for Science Fair project
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am a high school student enrolling in science fair. MY topic is as follows, "Can a plant be removed from the sun and put in dark and still survive if I directly inject glucose into the stem/roots (Dont know Which would work better)." Therefore i need to know how much glucose a plant needs/produces in one day and where to inject it. I also need to know how much to dilute the glucose due to its powder substance. Thank You Sincerely

ANSWER:

Glucose is one of the primary products of photosynthesis and is used by plants for growth and other energy requirements; and, as such, it may be converted into sucrose and other carbohydrates and often stored for later use. Providing glucose to the plant by injection would seem to be a viable option for providing a plant with an energy source in the absence of photosynthesis. However, determining what concentration of glucose you should use in your experiment isn't going to be easy since the concentration of glucose will depend on the plant, the part of the plant (leaf, stem, flower, etc.), and even the time of year. Since this is an experiment and Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't have any idea what plant you are using (besides there may not be specific information about glucose concentrations for the plant you pick), in your experiment why not you make one of the variables the concentration of glucose you inject. For example, you can inject one set of plants with a high concentration, another with a low concentration, and another with a concentration that is intermediate between the low and high.

For choice of injection site, the main idea is to get the glucose into the vascular system of the plant. Glucose is produced mainly in the leaves where the majority of photosynthesis takes place but is then moved via the plant's vascular system to other parts of the plant where it is needed. The xylem of the roots transports water and minerals up to the rest of the plant, while the phloem moves sugars and minerals throughout the plant. Since the stems are involved in carrying the water and minerals up from the roots and also in moving the products of photosynthesis from their sources (usually the leaves) to the remainder of the plant, they would seem to be the logical site for injection. Additionally, injecting into the roots would be more disruptive to the plant since the roots would have to be uncovered and disturbed each time the plant is injected. You might consider using various positions on the stem as a variable in the experiment, also. For instance, inject the base of the stem where it emerges from the soil on one set of plants and a measured number of inches above the base for another set.

To get an idea about the variations in glucose concentrations according to plant and various parts of plants, you might like to read the following articles:

Rosa, Eduardo; M. David; and M. H. Gomes. "Glucose, fructose and sucrose content in broccoli, white cabbage and Portuguese cabbage grown in early and late seasons" Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 81, no. 12, pp.1145-1149. July 18, 2001.

Mahn, K; C. Hoffmann; and B. Maerlaender. Distribution of quality components in different morphological sections of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.). European Journal of Agronomy vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 29-39. July, 2002.

You may, or may not, be able to read these online. If not, you can probably get a copy of them via Interlibrary Loan through your local library.

 

More General Botany Questions

East Texas Natives and Botanical History
May 05, 2011 - I am looking for flowers &/or flowering shrubs that are native to east Texas, especially that would have been in this area over 100 or more years ago.
view the full question and answer

Albinism in plants.
May 16, 2010 - Greetings, I was wondering what you know of albinism in plants? I know I've found a few articles about it online. I discovered my only albino plant last summer. It was an albino dogbane plant grow...
view the full question and answer

Blooming but not berrying American bittersweet from Pendleton IN
May 29, 2013 - I have had a bittersweet plant for years, it blooms but not berries. How do I tell if it is male or female so I can buy the opposite? It is currently blooming.
view the full question and answer

Define monoculture from St. Croix Falls, WI
May 30, 2014 - What do you call a dense stand or carpet of one species of wildflower? Our botany professor told us but that was 40 years ago!
view the full question and answer

North American plant that inhibits mold and mildew growth
October 06, 2008 - Hi! There, I just wanted to know is there a north American plant that inhibits or eradicates mold and mildew growth, in the home. Also do they make a CFL (the new energy efficient spiral) type light b...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center