CAM plants (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) is a special type of carbon pathway that was attained through evolution in some plants. Such plants have special characteristics such as stomata closure during the day while it opens during the night (Monteiro et al. 2016). The adaptation enables the plants to reduce water loss through evapotranspiration. CAM plants stores Carbon (IV) Oxide as malate (a four-carbon acid compound, the acid is stored at night in vacuoles of the leaf and the other green parts of the plant like the stem and exposed roots (Habibi & Ajory, 2015). The stored malate is later used during the day in the RuBisCO circle where CO2, increases the efficiency of photosynthesis in CAM plants (Monteiro et al. 2016). Succulence or rather thickness of the CAM plant is one of the greatest advantages that the plant has towards its a photosynthetic pathway. The paper intends to discuss how the thickness of CAM plants tissues and acid metabolism relates to water, temperature, and gas pressure.
Temperature and Thickness of Tissues
Temperature is a crucial element in plant metabolism; plants require moderate temperatures to conduct their daily metabolic activities. However, CAM plants are plants that thrive in hot and dry areas hence they have unique adaptations to survive in such areas, one of the adaptations is being succulent (Aragon et al. 2013). Therefore, CAM plants have thick tissues; the thick leaves enable the plans to preserve water. The thickness of the leaves and stem is thus a special adaptation that enables the plant to survive in areas with a limited amount of water (Habibi & Ajory, 2015). Thus, the high temperature increases the level at which CAM plant tissues are thick (succulent) the thick tissues stores water to counter limited supply in an ecosystem.
Water and Thickness of Tissues
Water is an essential requirement for plant growth and metabolic activities. CAM plants are plants that are adapted to survive in dry areas. Therefore, the plants necessitate adaptations that will enable it to survive in water deficient ecosystem. The plants have developed and evolutionary mechanism which enables it to store water. The mechanism has thick fleshy tissues. An example is a pineapple; pineapples have a fleshy stem and leaves (Aragon et al. 2013). The thick stem and leaves are adapted to store water for survival in arid conditions. Aloe Vera is another example of a CAM plant with succulent leaves (thick leaves) which are for water storage (Davis et al. 2014). The thickness of the leaves is, therefore, a special adaptation that enables the CAM plants to survive in arid ecosystems. Leaf and stem thickness enhances water storage capacity of the CAM plants in arid areas. Studies have proven that CAM plants with thicker tissues have a higher chance of surviving in water deficient areas that those with less thick tissues.
Light and Thickness of Tissues
Light is essential for the process of the photosynthesis to take place in plants, without light photosynthesis is impossible. The leaves of most CAM plants are thick but have chlorophyll which attracts light for photosynthesis. Thickness enables the leaves to store water and other chemicals such as abscisic acid that enables the plant to close the stomata during the day (Aragon et al. 2013). Zeaxanthin is also a chemical that most CAM plants store in the thick layers of the guard cells combination of Abscisic acid prevents the stomata opening during the day and allows accumulation of carbon during the night (Kuzniak et al. 2016). Thick leaves allow light to penetrate and concentrate on the plants hence making the decarboxylation process manageable during the day.
Gas Pressure and Thickness of Tissues
CAM plants are adapted to fix carbon during the night and utilize the fixed carbon during the day. The carbon fixed is gained from carbon (IV) oxide through the stomata (Ren et al. 2015). Carbon (IV) oxide enters the stomata with the aid of pressure differences between the internal structures of the stomata and the external environment. Thick leaves have thick cells that have the potential of generating high pressure for gaseous exchange during the night. For CAM plats to attain efficiency in carbon fixation at night, the pant must take in as much carbon from the air as possible. The thickness of the tissues is an adaptation that enables the plants to sustain the pressure needed for intake of carbon (iv) oxide and exit of oxygen released in the decarboxylation process in the leaves during the photorespiration process (Scalisi et al. 2016). Oxygen is a byproduct of photorespiration it needs sufficient pressures for it to be released at the rate that carbon is being absorbed. The thickness of the leaves tissues provides the needed pressure for gaseous pressure in CAM plants.
CAM acid like the malic acid needs storage tissue that can hold them for long before decarboxylation, thick tissues of the leaves and fleshy stem provide such storage facilities in CAM plants (Habibi & Ajory, 2015). The thickness of the tissues is thus an added advantage for the survival of the CAM plants in arid areas (Robert et al. 2014).
CAM plants are special plants adapted to survive in water deficient areas; the plant has several features that enable it to survive in such environments. One of the significant adaptations noted is the succulence or the thickness of its tissues. The thickness of CAM plants tissues enables it to survive arid conditions as noted in the paper.
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