Plant Physiology

Plant physiology is the study of the vital processes and functions in plants, including how they grow, develop, and respond to their environment. This scientific field covers a range of topics, from cellular mechanisms to whole-plant processes, and is fundamental to understanding plant biology and improving agricultural practices.

Key Areas of Plant Physiology :


  • Light Reactions: Photosynthesis begins with the light-dependent reactions, where chlorophyll in the chloroplasts absorbs sunlight, converting it into chemical energy in the form of ATP and NADPH.
  • Calvin Cycle: In the stroma of the chloroplast, ATP and NADPH are used in the Calvin cycle to fix carbon dioxide into glucose, which serves as an energy source for the plant.


  • Glycolysis: The breakdown of glucose starts in the cytoplasm, producing pyruvate and a small amount of ATP.
  • Citric Acid Cycle and Electron Transport Chain: In the mitochondria, pyruvate is further broken down, producing more ATP, carbon dioxide, and water.

Water and Nutrient Uptake:

  • Root Absorption: Roots absorb water and minerals from the soil through root hairs and transport them to the rest of the plant via xylem vessels.
  • Transpiration: Water evaporates from leaf surfaces through stomata, creating a negative pressure that pulls water upward from the roots.

Transport Systems:

  • Xylem: Conducts water and dissolved minerals from the roots to the leaves.
  • Phloem: Transports the products of photosynthesis, primarily sugars, from leaves to other parts of the plant.

Growth and Development:

  • Hormones: Plant hormones, or phytohormones, like auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, ethylene, and abscisic acid, regulate growth, development, and responses to environmental stimuli.
  • Photoperiodism: Plants respond to the length of day and night, which affects flowering and other developmental processes.

Stress Physiology:

  • Abiotic Stress: Plants encounter various environmental stresses such as drought, salinity, and extreme temperatures. They adapt through mechanisms like osmotic adjustment, production of stress proteins, and antioxidant defense systems.
  • Biotic Stress: Plants also face stress from pests and pathogens. They respond through physical barriers, production of defensive chemicals, and activation of immune responses.

Cellular and Molecular Basis :

Cell Structure:

  • Cell Wall
  • Plasma Membrane
  • Organelles

Signal Transduction:

  • Receptors
  • Second Messengers
  • Response

Applications and Importance :

  • Crop Improvement
  • Pest and Disease Management
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Climate Change
  • Genetic Engineering

Plant physiology is a dynamic and essential field that bridges the gap between plant biology and practical applications in agriculture, biotechnology, and environmental management. By studying the various processes that govern plant life, scientists and researchers can develop innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in food security, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience.


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