Most animals have some type of circulatory system that transports vital nutrients to specific locations within the body. Our circulatory system looks like an extensive road map with major interstates, state highways, county roads and narrow one lane paths. It connects the entire body to a vital grid system. We have a heart that pumps the blood out into the body and then there are muscles along the way that help keep the fluids and nutrients moving.
Plants on the other hand do not have a circulatory system like we do. They do have two types of tissues that do transport water and nutrients in the plant, but they do not have the same pumping system as do animal circulatory systems. Those two types of tissue are the phloem and xylem.
The main purpose of xylem is to carry water and some nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant. Xylem is the woody part of plants that we use for building, carving and hitting baseballs.
The other type of transport tissue is the phloem. This is generally a thin layer of tissue that lies between the bark and xylem. The main function of the phloem is to carry nutrients from the soil to the rest of the plants and to transport other nutrients such as sugars from the leaves where they are manufactured during photosynthesis to other parts of the plant where it is either utilized or stored up, such as in the seeds and fruit.
But one thing that has puzzled scientists for years is how the sugars are moved through the plant tissues to the phloem. Nearly twenty years ago, Wolf Frommer from Carnegie, discovered that plants have a molecular pump. The pump system transported the sugars from the individual cells through other plant cells to the phloem.
Although the molecular pump was discovered, it has taken Frommer and his team twenty years to finally identify the chemical components of the pump. These are the chemicals that actually bind to the sugars and move them across cell walls to the phloem.
Frommer and his team are excited about their find as it may have in impact on humans and diseases like diabetes. He and his team are now hoping to do further research on the newly discovered protein. They are hoping that understanding of how this protein binds to sugar molecules and then transports them will lead to a better understanding of how proteins in the human body help move sugars from the intestines into the blood stream and out of the liver where it is stored as fat.
The more we study God’s creation, the more we continue to learn just how marvelously designed it all is and how intricately woven the similarities are between different parts of His creation, including plants and animals.
Discovery On How Sugars Are Moved Throughout a Plant, Science Daily, Dec. 8, 2011.
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