Stoma

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In botany, a stoma (also stomate; plural stomata) is a pore, found in the leaf and stem epidermis that is used for gas exchange. The pore is bordered by a pair of specialized parenchyma cells known as guard cells which are responsible for regulating the size of the opening and are the closest thing a plant has to a muscle. The term stoma is also used collectively to refer to an entire stomatal complex, both the pore itself and its accompanying guard cells.[1] Air containing carbon dioxide and oxygen enters the plant through these openings where it is used in photosynthesis and respiration, respectively. Oxygen produced by photosynthesis in the spongy layer cells (parenchyma cells with pectin) of the leaf interior exits through these same openings. Also, water vapor is released into the atmosphere through these pores in a process called transpiration.

Stomata are present in the sporophyte generation of all land plant groups except liverworts. Dicotyledons usually have more stomata on the lower epidermis than the upper epidermis. Monocotyledons, on the other hand, usually have the same number of stomata on the two epidermes. In plants with floating leaves, stomata may be found only on the upper epidermis; submerged leaves may lack stomata entirely.

The word stoma derives from Greek στόμα, "mouth".[2]

Contents

Function

Carbon gain and water loss

Carbon dioxide, a key reactant in photosynthesis, is present in the atmosphere at a concentration of about 384 ppm (as of March 2008). Most plants require the stomata to be open during daytime. The problem is that the air spaces in the leaf are saturated with water vapour, which exits the leaf through the stomata (this is known as transpiration). Therefore, plants cannot gain carbon dioxide without simultaneously losing water vapour.[3]

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