Sugar shapes plant growth

Shoot branching in plants is triggered when a high concentration of simple sugar – produced through photosynthesis – is available, and is not regulated by the plant hormone auxin as previously thought.

Research led by Christine Beveridge, from the University of Queensland, demonstrated that the initiation of bud growth is not dependent on auxin because shoot branching can begin up to 24 hours before auxin levels change. Instead, sugars were detected in axillary buds within the timeframe that correlates with shoot branching.

This is an important finding for the agricultural industry in which the growth of shoots and branches is integral to crop productivity. It allows a more thorough understanding of apical dominance, where a plant’s main shoot inhibits the growth of buds and branches along the stem, and how to manipulate the process.

Read more at The University of Queensland