Stomata are a special type of pore opening on leaves of plants. They are designed to absorb water from sources such as rain while also removing excess water in the plant through transpiration. The way that the stomata work is still a mystery as we truly do not understand what causes their functioning and how.
The Role of Transpiration and Stomata
Plants need carbon to grow and be healthy. One way they do this is by absorbing CO2 from the air. This is the process of transpiration or gas exchange. The CO2 is taken, broken up into carbon and oxygen atoms and the carbon is taken into the plant while the oxygen binds with free hydrogen which produces water. This is not avoidable as the loss of water regularly occurs during transpiration for plants.
Guard Cell Use in Stomata
Vascular plants which have stomata will also have a pair of guard cells that lie just behind the stomata opening. These cells are designed to open and close by direction of the plant to allow entry or escape of water into the body of the plant. These cells may also have other functions which are yet to be understood.
How it is thought that Stomata Work
The absorption of water and release through transpiration is thought to work through osmotic pressure. This pressure is what is thought to cause the guard cells in the plant to function towards regulating the absorption of water. This is possible in many different plants and is commonly performed by both plants that are outdoors and those which are raised indoors as well.
Environmental Factors of Stomata Function
Heat and cold can interfere with the normal function of Stomata which may impair the ability to receive or excrete water from the plant. Too much heat can force the Stomata to stay open because of the increase in pressure of the surrounding environment. Excess cold exposure can impair the ability for the stomata to open. This can increase the amount of water in the plant which could endanger the plant with formation of ice crystals in the plant which could kill cells and destroy the structural integrity of the plant.
Topical Chemical Application Interaction
Not much is known about whether or not chemicals are absorbed into the stomata when topical chemical sprays are applied. It is very possible that this is the case with crops which take advantage of crop dusting to keep insects away. If the resulting fruit absorb chemicals absorbed through the leaves of the plant, the fruits could results as chemical tainted produce. This is one reason why plans for organic farming are increasing around the world.
Safety of Plants with Stomata
Stomata are obviously an opening into the leaves of the plant. Of course this may lead to infection of the plant with various pathogens. The introduction of pathogens into the system could disrupt the health of the plant. With normal growth and optimal conditions, the natural guard cell reaction can keep pathogens out of the stomata.