Climbing plants have unique adaptations to enable them to compete for sunlight, for which they invest minimal resources for vertical growth. Indeed, their stems bear relatively little weight, as they traverse their host substrates skyward. Climbers possess high tensile strength and flexibility, which allows them to utilize natural and manmade structures for support and growth. The climbing strategies of plants have intrigued scientists for centuries, yet our understanding about biochemical adaptations and their molecular undergirding is still in the early stages of research. Nonetheless, recent discoveries are promising, not only from a basic knowledge perspective, but also for bioinspired product development. Several adaptations, including nanoparticle and adhesive production will be reviewed, as well as practical translation of these adaptations to commercial applications. We will review the botanical literature on the modes of adaptation to climb, as well as specialized organs—and cellular innovations. Finally, recent molecular and biochemical data will be reviewed to assess the future needs and new directions for potential practical products that may be bioinspired by climbing plants.
Plant Cell Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 29, 2017
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