Plant Respiration

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Plant respiration is the controlled oxidation of energy-rich photosynthetic end-products (i.e. starch and sucrose) via the pathways of glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and mitochondrial electron transport chain, producing CO2 and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Respiration also generates low-molecular-weight ‘building block’ molecules needed as precursors for biosynthesis and nitrogen assimilation. Although most respiratory enzymes are common to all organisms, there are many features unique to plant respiration including the occurrence of parallel glycolytic pathways in the cytosol and plastid, and alternative ‘bypass’ enzymes in cytosolic glycolysis, and the mitochondrial TCA cycle and electron transport chain. These bypasses include glycolytic enzymes that use pyrophosphate instead of ATP and non-energy-conserving routes of mitochondrial electron transport. The resulting flexible nature of plant respiratory metabolism represents an essential adaptation that helps sessile plants acclimatise to the many stresses that they are exposed to in their natural environment. Genetic engineering of respiratory metabolism in transgenic plants is providing an important biotechnological approach for improving crop yields and enhancing sustainable agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Life Sciences
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


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