Bowsher, Caroline Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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- Energy metabolism
- Organic components of plants
- Storage compounds
- Amino acid biosynthesis and storage proteins
- Natural products and secondary metabolites
- Genetic modification
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The complex of physical and chemical processes necessary to synthesize and transform substances into energy that is made available for use by a plant organism. Plant metabolism is driven by the autotrophic nature of plants, meaning that they must acquire carbon and other minerals to meet their requirements for growth and development (Fig. 1). The available resources to plants are simple, in the form of inorganic nutrients, light, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2), but are also often in limited supply. Plant metabolism exhibits a flexibility that is not seen in other higher organisms. This reflects the sessile nature of plants and their inability to escape specific environmental conditions, stresses, or predation. For cell maintenance and growth, the plant requires a range of organic compounds, including nucleic acids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and natural products. Although some of these compounds are generated by metabolic pathways that are common to a breadth of organisms, much of plant metabolism is unique. See also: Agricultural science (plant); Metabolism; Plant; Plant development; Plant growth; Plant mineral nutrition; Plant physiology
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