What Is Light? This Question Is Relevant in Reviewing Photosynthesis and Plant Growth and Development

What is light? In particular, what is light from the sun? What may be your answer when you are suddenly confronted with such a question?

Surely it would not be a surprise if the question elicits a shocking, caught-in-the-act, stammering realization in many persons.

Oftentimes the automatic answer is the funny “Well, light is light!” But this answer should not be a surprise too.

Light has always been there, and we live day after day without finding the necessity to know further what is light or what is the definition of light.

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What Is Totipotency, Its Significance in Plant Development and in Plant Regeneration

Totipotency, also called totipotentiality, refers to the ability of many cells to retain the full genetic potential characteristic of the mature organism from which any of the cells were obtained, and thus enable the cell to regenerate the organism’s tissues and organs under favorable conditions.

The possibility of regenerating an entire plant from a single or few non-zygotic cells was proposed by Gottleib Haberlandt (1854-1945) in 1902.

Haberlandt is now popularly called the Father of Tissue Culture.

This ability to regenerate the missing parts of a mature plant has already been known many times in the distant past.

This is the case when vegetative organs or parts, such as tubers, storage roots, and plant cuttings are used to propagate plants.

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Environmental Factors: What and How Do They Affect Crop Growth and Yield

Environmental factors are those non-genetic factors that contribute to the characteristics of a plant.

In other words, they are the components of all factors which influence plant growth and development to the exclusion of the genetic factors.

They have been referred to also as external factors to distinguish from the genetic factors which are described as internal.

With the right gene combination, a favorable environment can ensure full expression of crop yielding potential.

Conversely, unfavorable conditions can negate or diminish the full expression of genes.

Despite the use of the descriptive word environmental, however, these plant growth factors should not be interpreted as referring only to the external factors which humans easily perceive.

Although included, they do not refer only to sunlight, temperature, dry or moist air, and other elements of climate.

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Genetic Factors Dictate Crop Growth and Yield

In sum, the genetic factors affecting plant growth and development and crop productivity are all those which exclude the environmental factors.

They refer to the overall gene constitution of the plant or the smallest unit of this entirety which dictates the expression of specific traits.

They are also referred to as internal factors because they determine plant characteristics from within the plant, specifically from within the cell.

In other words, a plant displays a unique trait because there is this genetically dictated blueprint that makes such a trait inherent in the plant.

Without such a genetic blueprint, any manipulation of the external factors (called environmental) will fail in attempting to make the plant display such a trait.

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Plant Growth Factors Interact and Can Be Manipulated

Plant growth factors or, to be complete, “plant growth and development factors” refer to everything that can affect the expression of plant characteristics.

Each factor is anything that controls or influences any aspect of growth and development and contributes to that overall expression.

These characteristics are apparent in those which are visible like, for example, the distinct characteristics of corn or maize compared to trees so that one can easily identify it and not mistake it for any tree.

The yields of two corn plants can also be compared first visually as small vs. big ear, and then by measuring the weights of ears and kernels.

So arises the question What makes this one corn yield high compared to the other?

This question to be answered comprehensively requires a dissecting of the plant growth factors affecting such characteristics.

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What Are Plant Growth, Differentiation, and Development?

In agriculture, the term plant growth and development is often substituted with crop growth and yield.

This is so because plant agriculture is mainly concerned with crops and their economic products.

Indeed, a farmer may be concerned only with his corn crop and its grain yield.

He may not consider other plants except the weeds which can have adverse effects on productivity.

But the study of the science of crop production, or crop science, is not limited only to existing agricultural crops.

For one, plants that may not appear useful now can be found useful later.

For example, the discovery of the sugar beet as a commercial source of sugar is relatively recent compared to sugar cane.

Further,  the cellular, chemical, and biophysical changes occurring during plant development and their control similarly apply to most plants.

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Plant Structure: Introduction to the Parts of the Plant Body and Functions in the Angiosperms

Crop science requires a substantive understanding of plant structure in the angiosperms, specifically the morphology and anatomy of the plant body and the functions of the different parts.

The angiosperms or true flowering plants, also called Angiospermae, Magnoliophyta, and Anthophyta should be given prime attention because they comprise most of the living plants (more than 95%) and food crops (Simpson 2010).

By knowing the different parts of plants and how each part participates in growth, development, and adaptation, it will be possible to make necessary manipulations of the plant and of the environment for improved crop production.

Familiarity with the different morphological and anatomical terms will likewise enhance understanding of the concepts, practices, and advances as well as become useful in the identification, rearing, and improvement of crop plants.

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What Is a Plant, Its Description, Functions, and Classifications

What is a plant?

Several basic questions are relevant in reviewing crop farming or plant agriculture as a science and practice.

These include what is: agriculture, crop, weed, agronomy, and horticulture, as well as the various factors and processes involved in plant growth and development.

But equally necessary is to have a wide understanding of plants and their characteristics.

This is so because crop production generally means plant production.

A plant is a multicellular, autotrophic living organism capable of photosynthesis, primarily adapted to living on land, and belongs to the kingdom Plantae.

Planta or plantae is also the Latin word for plant, sprout, shoot, slip, young plant, seedling, sole, and foot (Kidd 1957; Traupman 1995).

This is one short answer to the question What is a plant?

However, this will require a long elaboration.

And this is not even an exacting answer because there is plenty more about what is a plant and what are those which are not plants.

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Notes on Fertilizer Application and Its Development, Julius Von Liebeg’s Contribution

Fertilization or fertilizer application is the supplemental application of plant nutrients to crop plants to augment the supply from natural sources.

This consists of applying nutrient-containing materials, called fertilizers, generally into the soil in proximity to receptor plants.

However, some are added to water, or to air, or applied as a foliar spray.

The first artificially produced fertilizer may be the “philosophic dung” or “fattening salt,” a substitute to manure (dung) that Johann Glauber (1604-1668) invented.

It was prepared from wood ash, lime from burned stone, and well-decomposed organic matter.

He wouldn’t know then, but aside from lime, it also added NPK to the soil (Brown 1943, cited by Korcak 1991).

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List of Palms That Can Be Tapped for Sap and Sugar Production

Hereunder is a list of palms that have been traditionally tapped for sap. The harvested sap has been processed into palm sugar but there are other uses.

List of Palms

As already mentioned on a separate page, the palms are considered one of the major sources of sugar in the world.

Special mention of Phoenix sylvestrisBorassus flabelliferCocos nucifera, and Arenga pinnata was made by Hill (1972) and these were also reviewed by Dalibard (1997; 1999) along with other palm species.

The entries on geographical distribution were obtained from globalspecies.org (2011).

These palm trees are among more than 30 species that Dalibard (1997; 1999) reviewed as having been traditionally tapped for sap with promising prospects for use as animal feed.

The list is not exclusive.

Although most tapped palms yield sap with high sugar content, many are used to make wine, vinegar, and other products instead of sugar.

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