Professor of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Although plants can’t share their feelings, Charles Guy, professor of plant physiology and biochemistry, knows them pretty well.
A member of the UF faculty since 1985, Guy studies the ways plants respond to stressful conditions, particularly extreme heat and cold. These “sub-optimal” conditions not only affect growth patterns, but the very ability of plants to survive and succeed.
“The rationale for this research program is that with a better understanding of how plants respond to potentially damaging situations, better strategies to avoid crop losses can be devised,” Guy says.
Specifically, Guy lookss at how plants internally adapt or tolerate conditions in order to resist injury.
“The most important finding in recent years is that the metabolic responses of plants to high temperature is remarkably similar to when they are responding to low temperature,” he says.
Guy recently collaborated with the Root Metabolism Group at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm, Germany. The team profiled changes in more than 500 low molecular compound plants experiencing temperature stress.
“Charlie has been one of the leading international researchers in cold stress biotechnology and as a result has been an invited speaker at conferences around the world,” says Terrill Nell, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Horticulture.
“By being able to understand how plants respond to environmental stress, we will be able to possibly one day improve the tolerance mechanisms for citrus crops, tomatoes and just about anything that’s worthwhile to grow,” Guy says.