[Plant-education] Caffeine's effect on plants

Frankco via plant-ed%40net.bio.net (by fbt from frankandjackie.com)
Thu Sep 9 07:34:55 EST 2010

Hi Rachel,

Since you are researching the effects of caffeine on plants, you are 
probably aware of  A.P. Vitória and P. Mazzafera published paper 
"Cytokinin-like effects of caffeine in bioassays". Sorry, I don't have the 
paper. It's available on Springerlink. I'll copy the abstract just in case 
you have not seen it.

In the study of Witches Broom, a disease of Cocoa, plants it was found that 
the endogenous amount of caffeine within the plant raises in response to the 
infection. In the paper they suggest the cytokinin effect of caffeine might 
be due to the higher amount of caffeine "unbalancing" the endogenous plant 
hormones and the growth is not directly caused by the caffeine. Sorry, I 
don't have this paper either.

With the deadline fast approaching I'll add the abstracts of both studies 
below. I hope they are of some help.
Good luck.

Cytokinin-like effects of caffeine in bioassays
authors A.P. Vitória and P. Mazzafera
(Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil). Dept. de Fisiologia Vegetal)
Date of publication May 1998

Cytokinin-like effects of pure caffeine were tested in bioassays specific 
for this hormonal activity and in cell elongation bioassays. 
6-benzylaminopurine and kinetin (KIN) were used for comparison with 
caffeine. Although weaker than those given by cytokinins, positive responses 
were observed in all specific bioassays and in elongation of soybean 
internodes. A remarkable synergistic effect between caffeine and KIN was 
observed for the synthesis of Chl in the tobacco cell suspension bioassay, 
in which different concentrations of the alkaloid were combined with a 
single concentration of KIN. The hormone-like effect of caffeine might be 
related to the resemblance between caffeine and adenine derivatives.

Biochemical changes during the development of witches'
broom: the most important disease of cocoa in Brazil
caused by Crinipellis perniciosa

L. M. Scarpari, L. W. Meinhardt, P. Mazzafera, A. W. V. Pomella, M. A. 
J. C. M. Cascardo4 and G. A. G. Pereira1,
1 Departamento de Gene´tica e Evolucxa~o, IB/UNICAMP, CP 6109, 13083-970, 
Campinas-SP, Brazil
Received 17 July 2004; Accepted 9 November 2004

It has been demonstrated in vitro that caffeine can mimic the physiological 
effect of cytokinins (Vitoria and Mazzafera, 1998). Thus, since this 
compound shows a peak during infection, it can be speculated that caffeine 
could contribute to the hormonal imbalance in the infected plant. However, 
exogenous cytokinin applied to normal stems was not able to mimic the green 
broom development (Abohamed et al., 1981).

Frank N.W. Indiana

From: "Rachel Lovejoy" <rlovejoy84253 from roadrunner.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2010 8:50 AM
To: <plant-ed from magpie.bio.indiana.edu>
Subject: [Plant-education] Caffeine's effect on plants

> Hello, I am researching the effects of caffeine on plants, specifically 
> pea plants, for a possible article to be published online. I'd appreciate 
> whatever you could share on this topic. My deadline is Sept. 12. Thank you 
> so much for any help you can give me.
> RL
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