Respiration and Lipid Metabolism

PHOTOSYNTHESIS PROVIDES the organic building blocks that plants (and nearly all other life) depend on. Respiration, with its associated carbon metabolism, releases the energy stored in carbon compounds in a controlled manner for cellular use. At the same time it generates many carbon precursors for biosynthesis. In the first part of this chapter we will review respiration in its metabolic context, emphasizing the interconnections and the special features that are peculiar to plants. We will also relate respiration to recent developments in our understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of plant mitochondria.

In the second part of the chapter we will describe the pathways of lipid biosynthesis that lead to the accumulation of fats and oils, which many plants use for storage. We will also examine lipid synthesis and the influence of lipids on membrane properties. Finally, we will discuss the catabolic pathways involved in the breakdown of lipids and the conversion of the degradation products to sugars that occurs during seed germination.

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