What in general prevents plants from rotting while they are alive?

In summary: Rotation_of_the_tree_trunksIn summary, the article discusses how plants have a two-branched immune system and how this helps to protect them from infection. It also mentions how some plant-associated microbes are pathogen and how these microbes can impair plant growth and reproduction. Finally, the article discusses how rot can occur in trees while they are alive.
  • #1
Spinnor
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What in general prevents plants from rotting while they are alive?

Do plants that go dormant in the winter need to spend energy to maintain a defense, say a flower bulb?

Thanks for any help!
 
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  • #2
Plants have a very complex immune system, even in dormancy this will be active to some extent

The plant immune system
Jonathan D. G. Jones1 & Jeffery L. Dangl2
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7117/full/nature05286.html

Abstract said:
Many plant-associated microbes are pathogens that impair plant growth and reproduction. Plants respond to infection using a two-branched innate immune system. The first branch recognizes and responds to molecules common to many classes of microbes, including non-pathogens. The second responds to pathogen virulence factors, either directly or through their effects on host targets. These plant immune systems, and the pathogen molecules to which they respond, provide extraordinary insights into molecular recognition, cell biology and evolution across biological kingdoms. A detailed understanding of plant immune function will underpin crop improvement for food, fibre and biofuels production.
 
  • #3
Ryan_m_b said:
Plants have a very complex immune system, even in dormancy this will be active to some extent

The plant immune system
Jonathan D. G. Jones1 & Jeffery L. Dangl2
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7117/full/nature05286.html

Thank you! When you say "active to some extent" can I assume that to be active, if at a lower state, requires energy to do so?

Thank again!
 
  • #4
Spinnor said:
Thank you! When you say "active to some extent" can I assume that to be active, if at a lower state, requires energy to do so?

Thank again!

Of course. In dormancy metabolic activity is minimised but it still exists.
 
  • #5
Neat video showing a type of plant defense by cell suicide. Skip to about minute 4:00 to see plant cell explode, (die).

 
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  • #6
Of course, it is "the" big new thing now, so I also point out that the microbiome (ecology/environment) of each plant will also tend to preserve status quo, which implies current symbiotic/parasitic relationships will be resistant to change.
Can you assume activity implies work? Oh my! Either that or magic foo-foo dust. Hello?
Actually, the diffusion of a small molecule (or small protein) is an entropy driven event which I would consider a passive form of resistance if the chemical exhibited antimicrobiological activity in vivo. Various diffusion and capillary process are driven by potential energy differences and physical processes rather than requiring use of cellular energy (ATP, sugars, etc.).
Generally (unless one is discussing cosmology) one should assume the the Law of the Conservation of Energy (for closed, isolated systems) holds exactly and universally.
I should also point out that "rotting" might involve apoptisis which can be part of normal healthy plant metabolic (healing) activity.
 
  • #7
In a sense trees may rot while they are alive. Heart rot, for example in Pinus ponderosa, occurs in older tress with large heartwood areas. Heartwood is effectively dead - xylem cells there do not have cytoplasm. But phtyochemicals deposited there earlier resist rot fungi. For a while. Succesive fungi attacks are more successful and result in a large void forming in the lower trunk. This is the origin of hollow living trees.

Large sections of bristlecone pine trees (4K years old) are missing or crumbling due to rot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_longaeva
 

1. What are the main factors that prevent plants from rotting while they are alive?

The main factors that prevent plants from rotting while they are alive are their structural integrity, defense mechanisms, environmental conditions, and the presence of helpful microorganisms.

2. How does a plant's structural integrity prevent it from rotting?

A plant's structural integrity, which is maintained by the presence of cellulose and lignin in its cell walls, provides physical support and protection against external forces that could damage or break down the plant's tissues.

3. What defense mechanisms do plants have to prevent rotting?

Plants have various defense mechanisms to prevent rotting, such as the production of natural chemicals and compounds that deter pests and pathogens, the formation of protective layers or barriers, and the ability to heal and repair damaged tissues.

4. How do environmental conditions affect a plant's ability to resist rotting?

Environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight, can greatly influence a plant's ability to resist rotting. For example, high humidity and warm temperatures can create ideal conditions for fungi and bacteria to grow and cause rot, while dry and cool environments can slow down their growth.

5. What role do microorganisms play in preventing plant rot?

While some microorganisms can cause plant rot, others actually play a beneficial role in preventing it. These helpful microorganisms, such as certain types of bacteria and fungi, can compete with and suppress harmful pathogens, as well as aid in the decomposition of dead plant matter, which reduces the chances of rot occurring.

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