Caffeine's effect on plants

Joseph.Holtum joseph.holtum at
Wed May 7 17:09:56 EST 1997

A recent programme on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp...not the other!) 
was dedicated to the effects of caffeine on biological systems (mainly 
animal I think....I didn't see it) .... the text is on the net ...I'm not 
sure of the address, but if you go searching under ABC you should find it.

Caffeic acid (which you might look up rather than caffeine) is a potent 
inhibitor of plant cell division (mitosis). Seeds that are germinated on 
filter paper containing caffeic acid tend to have swollen root tips because 
the cells enlarge but do not divide. The phenology is similar to that 
exhibited by the dinitroaniline herbicides such as trifluralin and 
pendimethalin that are inhibitors of microtubule formation (I don't think 
caffeic acid is a microtubule inhibitor).

 CAM rules!.....but what ARE the rules?

Joe Holtum
Department of Tropical Plant Sciences,
James Cook University of North Queensland,
Townsville, North Queensland 4811

Telephone:-          (077) 81 4391 (lab); 79 5252 (home)
Facsimile:-             (077) 25 1570
electronic mail:-    joseph.holtum at

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