MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: how does caffine effect plant growth?

Date: Thu Jan 25 10:17:32 2001
Posted By: Mark Schneegurt, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Wichita State University
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 978646070.Es

I must start by saying that I have not worked in this area and I do not have 
direct knowledge of these issues.  Unfortunately, I have not had the time 
fully explore the literature in this area.  However, I have found some 
articles that provide a starting point for further investigation.

Caffeine is an alkaloid that exhibits some structural similarities to 
nucleic acid bases.  In fact, it has been demonstrated that caffeine can 
inhibit the transport of adenine and cytosine in plant cells (Gillissen-B; 
Burkle-L; Andre-B; Kuhn-C; Rentsch-D; Brandl-B; Frommer-WB, Plant-Cell. 2000 
Feb; 12(2): 291-300).  Caffeine can also affect plant growth by inhibiting 
the enzyme invertase, involved in sugar metabolism (Rojo-HP; Quiroga-EN; 
Vattuone-MA; Sampietro-AR, Biochem-Mol-Biol-Int. 1997 Dec; 43(6): 1331-8).

Perhaps the most interesting articles I found demonstrated that caffeine can 
interfere will cell division in plants.  This appears to be manifest by 
arresting the cell during a stage of mitosis preventing the cell from 
completing division.  If caffeine is applied to root tissues, many cells 
were later found to contain more than one nucleus.  As I said, this is not 
my area of research and I have not read these articles fully, so I will not 
try to give details here.  I direct you to the literature listed below.

Chen-Y; Zhang-L; Zhou-Y; Geng-Y; Chen-Z, Mutat-Res. 2000 Jul 20; 452(1): 67-

Gimenez-Abian-MI; Utrilla-L; Canovas-JL; Gimenez-Martin-G; Navarrete-MH; De-
la-Torre-C,  Planta. 1998 Jan; 204(1): 37-43

Gu-X; Verma-DP, Plant-Cell. 1997 Feb; 9(2): 157-69

del-Campo-A; Gimenez-Martin-G; Lopez-Saez-JF; de-la-Torre-C, Eur-J-Cell-
Biol. 1997 Nov; 74(3): 289-93

I hope this helps.



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