Update: Plant energy expenses: How to stretch the C budget (Plant Physiol)

Balancing the books means making sure that expenses don’t exceed income. In terms of a plant’s energy budget, most of the input comes from carbon fixed during photosynthesis. The output is much more diverse. Some fixed carbon is used for growth and stored in seeds, and some is respired to release ATP and reducing power to drive other reactions. Bathe et al. carried out an energy audit to identify the feasibility of stretching the plant carbon budget to address environmental concerns. They focused on three models: storing stable carbon below ground, enhancing biological nitrogen fixation, and decreasing the turnover of short-lived enzymes. It’s an interesting an accessible paper that is worth a read, but their take-home message is that below-ground C sequestration and biological N fixation efforts will have little impact without simultaneously trimming the energy waste that accompanies high rates of protein turnover. In other words, pay off your high-interest credit card balance before your next buying binge! (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Plant Physiol. 10.1093/plphys/kiac493