Nicotiana tabacum has acquired a number of interesting adaptations in order to cope with the environment around itself.  Some items that may affect the plant and its production include: predators, precipitation, and temperature.


The tobacco plants have a unique technique on compensating for the manifestation of the tobacco budworm.  A study done at the North Carolina State University shows that the tobacco plant resists the damage due to tobacco budworms by increasing the weight of its healthy leaves.  Throughout the study is was observed that very few leaves were completely consumed by the worm which is the cause of premature topping which could result in stunted plant growth and delayed maturity.  Premature topping results in significant loss in the crop and can destroy a harvest.  Overall the budworm did not have a huge effect on the plants and its productivity because premature topping was not observed in this study.  If you would like to read this study done on tobacco budworms more in depth, click here.


Nicotiana tabacum is known to be a rather drought resistant plant due to genetic engineering but it still requires a well-distributed rainfall to reach a good healthy plant.  Genetic engineering has allowed the plant to better preserve and hold water in during times of drought or low rainfall, allowing for a better harvest in a wider range of habitats.  Many scientists are able to form "transgenic" tobacco plants by adding or modifying a certain gene in the plants genome.  One example is the addition of the TPS1 gene that is able to synthesize trehalose.  This in turn increases the plants drought tolerance.  Untreated tobacco plants usually undergo initial rapid water-loss and late slow water-loss phases resulting in excess water loss.  The treated plants will undergo slow water loss phases only at greater weights.  This is possible because their stomata will actually react earlier to mild drought stress resulting in more water retention for the plant.


The effect of temperature on Nicotiana tabacum really determines its habitat and where it will be able to grow.  Tobacco needs about 100 to 120 days of frost free weather to be able to reach full maturity.  Nicotiana tabacum can be grown in areas that only see about 80 to 90 days of frost free weather but they will not be able to reach full maturity and their flowers will not be at their full potential when harvest time comes around.  This somewhat flexible habitat allows the plant to be found as far north as Sweden and as far south as Australia.

Now that we know how tobacco adapts to its environment, lets look at the various interactions that it has with other organisms by clicking here!

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Logan Van Hoof,  April 2011