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Do Plants Get Sunburn?

Have you ever wondered that plants that are out in the sun for the whole day can be damaged by the sunlight too? Do you think they do something about it? Let’s read further to find out. 

  • For plants, sunlight can be both harmful and good. They need it for photosynthesis, but too much sun can also dehydrate and damage their leaves.
  • The primary strategy that plants use to protect themselves from this kind of damage is to release the extra light as heat. However, scientists were not sure how plants achieve this.
  • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a couple of other universities working together have observed one of the possible mechanisms that plants use to release energy.
  • The researchers determined that excess energy is transferred from chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green colour, to other pigments called carotenoids, releasing the energy as heat.

Previous research has shown that plants are also able to adapt to changes in sunlight intensity quickly. They are very good at getting rid of excess energy through rapid vibration.

A better understanding of plants’ natural photo-protection system could help scientists develop new ways to improve crop yields.

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