Direct Respiration of Lipids During Heat Production in the Inflorescence of Philodendron selloum

Science  22 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4595, pp. 419-421
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4595.419


Respiration in the heat-generating, sterile florets of Philodendron selloum was examined by electron microscopy and carbon isotopic analysis of respired carbon dioxide. After the spathe unfolded, the florets switched from carbohydrate oxidation to lipid oxidation, which persisted during heating and for at least 2 days thereafter. The scarcity of glyoxysome-like organelles and the low catalase activity in this tissue indicate that the lipid was respired directly and not after conversion to carbohydrate by the glyoxylate shunt. Thus, lipid metabolism in this heat-generating plant tissue appears to mimic aspects of the biochemistry and physiology of heat production in some animal tissues.