Plant Resources and Environment

LecturerMitsutaka TANIGUCHI, Professor, Hiroshi MIYAKE, Professor
DepartmentSchool of Agricultural Sciences / Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, 2005 Fall
Recommended for:Agriculture sophomores majoring in Biological Resources and Environmental Sciences (21.5 hours / sesion 1 session / week 15 weeks / term)

Plant Resources and Environment

Course Overview

Note: Course not available after the 2006 school year.

One of the functions that characterize plants is photosynthesis. This process is a major factor in defining the cycle of matter on the Earth, and improving or optimizing its efficiency is one of many important themes in bio-science. In this course, we will focus on the photochemical reaction of photosynthesis, plus the physiology and biochemistry associated with carbon fixation. There will also be lectures on the various forms of photosynthesis. This is related to how some plants have adapted to climates that are either hot or dry, or both. Also, we'll look in to how plants, however immobile, sense and adapt to changing environments through the magic of molecular structure and science. We hope that through the lessons students will gain interest in research of plant productivity and survivability, plus the research into improvement in those areas.

Key Features

In this course, both the students and the faculty use WebCT (Web Course Tools), an Internet education and learning system, as a means of supplementing the lessons. On the website, PowerPoint files used in the lessons are available for access, and students are free to ask questions about the lessons. (Of course, the questions will be answered on the website as well.) This way, students can, if connected to the web, access this website and review the day's lesson, anytime and anywhere.

Other contents on the website are the goals of each session, plus an abstract of the sessions, not to mention examination questions from previous courses and the answers. In addition, a bulletin board system is set up as well, to allow frequent communication between the students.

At the beginning of each session, students are given a sheet of paper in addition to the handouts for the session. On this paper, students are free to express their impressions, comments, and questions regarding the lessons. The paper will be collected at the end of each session. Of the 90 minutes of the session, most of the time will be devoted to explanations of facts and formulas, leaving little or no time to be spared for communication between the students and the instructor. Therefore, the paper provides a kind of evaluation of the lesson, providing us with firsthand information on whether the students understood this lesson, what they could and couldn't understand, and things like that. This method has improved the lesson in many ways, teaching us some important, basic skills about teaching. For example, students are better able to understand the lessons if the writing on the blackboard is neatly organized: cluttered blackboards give hardly any idea of what the instructor is trying to communicate to the students. Another example is the use of colored chalks: blue-colored chalk is at times nearly impossible to see, so usage of colors is limited to red and yellow.

Questions about the sessions are answered on the website. Both questions and answers are visible to anyone using the WebCT system, as such Q&A sessions provide additional information to other students as well. We benefit from this as well, since students' questions give us a hint on what we couldn't explain thoroughly. It provides insight on what can be improved in the next session.

One thing we'd like to do in the next course is to communicate with students more through the BBS. With students writing questions freely, and instructors (and other students, too) answering them, we hope to inspire students to study more after lessons, and to share what they know and have learnt in the lessons.

Course Aims

The main content of this course will be photosynthesis. On top of that, we will also be studying themes such as the variety of structure and functions of plant resources, plants' responses to environmental stresses, and the evolution and adaptation to the environments.

Items discussed in the lessons:

  • Evolution and adaptation of plants
  • The structure of chloroplasts
  • Photochemical reactions
  • Calvin cycle
  • C4 photosynthesis
  • CAM photosynthesis
  • Metabolite transport
  • Photoenvironment

About this course

This course is for sophomores who are majoring in Biological Resources and Environmental Sciences. Though they posses some knowledge about photosynthesis from the course "Basic Biology 1" taken in their junior year, this course will send them delving further in photosynthesis of higher plants, establishing connections with other fields of science such as biochemistry, physiology, and cell biology. In all, this course aims to provide the basics for the specialized subjects, experiments, and training that is to come in the following years.

  • Hans-Walter Heldt, Plant Biochemistry, Kindle Book, 2004
  • Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger, Plant Physiology, Sinauer Associates, 2006
  • Bob Buchanan, Wilheim Gruissem, and Russell Jones, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants, Wiley, 2002
  • Carl Branden and John Tooze, Introduction to Protein Structure: Second Edition, Garland Science, 1999
  • Neil A. Campbell and Jane B. Reece, Biology 6th Edition, Benjamin Cummings, 2002


Note: The following file is in Japanese. Examination Questions, year 2004

Course Schedule

Session Contents
1 Review: Photosynthesis
2 Terrestrial and Aquatic climates and the Adaptive Evolution of Plants
3 Development of Chloroplasts, Microscopic Structure of Chloroplasts
4 The Oxidation-reduction Potential and the Electron Transport Chain, Photochemical Reaction, ATP Synthesis
5 The Calvin Cycle, Photorespiration, glycolate pathway
6 Type C4 Photosynthesis (1): Features and Metabolic pathway
7 Type C4 Photosynthesis (2): Subtypes, Link Between Structure and Function
8 Comparison of Properties in C3 and C4 Photosynthesis
9 CO2 Concentration Mechanism
10 C4-like Photosynthesis, Intercellular metabolite transport
11 Metabolite transport through Biomembranes
12 CAM Photosynthesis
13 Photoenvironment (1): Adaptation of Plants to Intensity Fluctuation
14 Photoenvironment (2): Photoreception and Signal Transduction
15 Photoenvironment (3): Photoinhibition

Lecture Handouts

Shown here are abstracts and goals of the lessons, and records of Q&A session on the WebCT system. All files are in Japanese.

Session 1

Session 8

Session 9

Session 10

Session 11

Session 12

Session 13

Session 14

Session 15

Last updated

March 17, 2020