MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences

Re: Caffeine's Effect on the Growth of Plants

Area: Agricultural Sciences
Posted By: Nick Bourbaki, Collective Enigma Elucidator
Date: Sat Nov 9 16:45:52 1996
Message ID: 844959492.Ag

Dear Mark,

I couldn't locate any information that specifically relates to the effects of caffeine on germinating beans or any sort of legume.

There was a paper published some time ago (reference below) which suggests caffeine inhibits the process of cytokinesis in plant cells - the last part of mitosis where the two daughter cells split their cytoplasm and organells before a cell wall forms to fully separate them. Given this bit of information it is possible caffeine would have an inhibitory effect on the germination of plant seeds.

You may also want to look for information concerning methylxanthines - a family of chemicals of which caffeine is a member. Many plant-dervied methylxanthines function as antimicrobial factors and naturally-occuring insecticides. Of course, in humans the effect is a little different..


Lopez-Saez JF.  Mingo R.  Gonzalez-Fernandez A.                            
ATP level and caffeine efficiency on cytokinesis inhibition in plants.     
European Journal of Cell Biology.  27(2):185-90, 1982.

Nathanson JA.                                                              
Caffeine and related methylxanthines: possible naturally occurring         
Science.  226(4671):184-7, 1984 Oct 12.

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