Asked • 05/29/19

How does heat stress kill plants?

It is known that many plants typically die when exposed to temperatures of 40 to 50 celcius (I believe, these figures relate to exposure times of ~1–2 hours). When a plant is heated, what is the mode of action at the cellular level that results in the death of the plant? What are the main mechanisms involved? P.S. I have read that at high temperatures plants synthesize heat-shock proteins, so I am not sure if this plays a role in the death of the plant. Another obvious effect following heating is the damage/denaturation of some chlorophylls (but a plant should be able to survive the loss of some photosynthesis; e.g. detaching leaves will not kill a plant). Any explanation is greatly appreciated.

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