Microbes in human welfare Class 12 short Notes: Microbes in Household products

  • A common example is the production of curd from milk. Micro-organisms such as
  • Lactobacillus and others commonly called Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) grow in milk and convert it to curd.
  • During growth, the LAB produces acids that coagulate and partially digest the milk proteins.
  • It also improves its nutritional quality by increasing vitaminB12. In our stomachs too, the LAB plays a very beneficial role in checking disease-causing microbes.
  • The dough, which is used for making bread, is fermented by using baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).
  • “Toddy”, a traditional drink of some parts of southern India is made by fermenting sap from palms.
  • Microbes are also used to ferment fish, soybeans, and bamboo shoots to make
  • foods.
  • Cheese is one of the oldest food items in which microbes were used.
  • The large holes in ‘Swiss cheese’ are due to the production of a large amount of CO2 by a bacterium named Propionibacterium sharmanii.
  • The ‘Roquefort cheese’ is ripened by growing a specific fungus on them for a particular flavor.

MICROBES IN HUMAN WELFARE Notes : Microbes in Industrial products


Production on an industrial scale requires growing microbes in very large vessels called

a) Fermented Beverages:

  • The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used for bread making and commonly called brewer’s yeast is used for fermenting malted cereals and fruit juices to produce ethanol.
  • Wine and beer are produced without distillation whereas whisky, brandy, and rum are produced by distillation of the fermented broth.

b) Antibiotics:

  • Antibiotics are chemical substances, which are produced by some microbes and can kill or retard the growth of other disease-causing microbes.
  • Penicillin was the first antibiotic to be discovered and it was a chance discovery.
  • Alexander Fleming while working on Staphylococci bacteria, once observed a mould growing in one of his unwashed culture plates around which Staphylococci could not grow.
  • He found out that it was due to a chemical produced by the mould and he named it Penicillin after the mould Penicillium notatum.
  • Later, Ernest Chain and Howard Florey made their full potential effective antibiotic.

c) Chemicals, Enzymes, and other Bioactive Molecules

  • Aspergillus niger (fungus) – Citric acid
  • Acetobacter aceti (bacterium) – Acetic acid
  • Clostridium butylicum (bacterium) – Butyric acid
  • Lactobacillus (bacterium) – Lactic acid
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae – Ethanol


  • Lipase – used in laundry detergents
  • Pectinase and protease – used in bottled juices
  • Streptokinase (Streptococcus bacterium) – used as clot buster (to remove clots)

Bioactive molecules:

  • Cyclosporin A (Trichoderma polysporum fungi) – used as immunosuppressive agent (for organ transplant patients).
  • Statins (Monascus purpureus yeast) – used as blood cholesterol-lowering agents.

Microbes in human welfare Class 12 short Notes: Microbes in Sewage Treatment

  • Treatment of waste is done by heterotrophic microbes naturally present in the sewage.
  • This treatment is carried out in two stages;

1. Primary treatment / Physical treatment:

  1. It involves the physical removal of particles from the sewage through filtration and sedimentation.
  2. Sequential filtration – to remove floating debris.
  3. Sedimentation – to remove grit (soil and small pebbles).
  4. All solids that settle form the primary sludge, and the supernatant forms the effluent. The effluent from the primary settling tank is taken for secondary treatment.

2.Secondary treatment / Biological treatment:

  1. The primary effluent is passed into large aeration tanks, this allows vigorous growth of aerobic microbes into flocs.
  2. While growing, these microbes consume the major part of the organic matter in the effluent.
  3. This significantly reduces the BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) of the effluent. BOD is a measure of the organic matter present in the water.
  4. The greater the BOD of wastewater the more is its polluting potential.
  5. Once the BOD of sewage water is reduced significantly, the effluent is then passed into a settling tank where the bacterial ‘flocs’ are allowed to sediment. This sediment is called activated sludge.
  6. A small part of this sludge is pumped back into the aeration tank to serve as the inoculum.
  7. The remaining major part of the sludge is pumped into large tanks called anaerobic sludge digesters.
  8. During this digestion, bacteria produce a mixture of gases such as methane, hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide. These gases form biogas.
  9. The effluent from the secondary treatment plant is generally released into natural water bodies like rivers and streams.

Microbes In Human Welfare Class 12 short Notes: Microbes in Production of Biogas

  • Biogas is mixture of gases produced by microbial activity and which may be used as fuel. Certain bacteria, which grow anaerobically on cellulosic material, produce a large amount of methane along with CO2 and H2.
  • These bacteria are collectively called Methanogens (Methanobacterium).
  • These bacteria are also present in the rumen of cattle. A lot of cellulosic material present in the food of cattle is also present in the rumen.
  • In the rumen, these bacteria help in the breakdown of cellulose and play an important role in the nutrition of cattle.
  • Thus, the excreta (dung) of cattle, commonly called Gobar, is rich in these bacteria. Dung can be used for the generation of biogas commonly called gobar gas

Biogas Plant:

  • The technology of biogas production was developed in India mainly due to the efforts of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
  • The biogas plant consists of a concrete tank in which bio-wastes are collected and a slurry of dung is fed.
  • A floating cover is placed over the slurry, which keeps on rising as the gas is produced in the tank due to the microbial activity.
  • The biogas plant has an outlet, which is connected to a pipe to supply biogas to nearby houses.
  • The spent slurry is removed through another outlet and may be used as fertilizer.
    The biogas thus produced is used for cooking and lighting.

Microbes In Human Welfare Class 12 short Notes : Microbes as Biocontrol Agent

Biological control of pests and diseases:

  • Ladybird – to control aphids
  • Dragonfly – to control mosquitoes
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt Cotton) – to control wide range of insects
  • Trichoderma (fungi) – protects the root system and controls plant pathogens.
  • Baculoviruses (Nucleopolyhedrovirus) – to attack insects and other arthropods.

Microbes as Biofertilizers:

Biofertilizers are organisms that enrich the nutrient quality of the soil. The main sources of biofertilizers are bacteria, fungi, and cyanobacteria.


  • Symbiosis – Rhizobium with root nodules of leguminous plants
  • Free living (in the soil) – Azotobacter and Azospirillum.


  • Symbiosis – Mycorrhiza with root system of genus Glomus and absorb phosphorus and water from the soil for the plant growth.


  • Symbiosis – Anabaena in Azolla
  • Free living – Nostoc, Oscillatoria and Blue green algae

CBSE Class 12 Chapter 4 Reproductive Health Notes | Reproductive Health ncert Notes

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Reproductive health is total well-being in all aspects of reproduction i.e., physical, emotional, behavioral & social.


India initiated reproductive health programmes (family planning) in 1951. Now wider reproduction-related areas are in operation under Reproductive & Child Health Care (RCH) programs. Such programs deal with the following:

▪ Give awareness about reproduction-related aspects for creating a reproductively healthy society.

▪ Educate people about birth control, care of pregnant mothers, post-natal care of mother and child, the importance of breastfeeding, equal opportunities for male & female children, etc.

▪ Awareness of problems due to population explosion, social evils like sex abuse and sex-related crimes, etc.

Aims and needs of sex education in schools

▪ To provide the right information about sex-related aspects. It helps to avoid sex-related myths and misconceptions.

▪ To give proper information about reproductive organs, adolescence, and related changes, safe and hygienic sexual practices, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), AIDS, etc.


• In 1900, the world population was about 2 billion. By 2000, it rocketed to about 6 billion and 7.2 billion in 2011.

• In India, the population was nearly 350 million at the time of independence. It reached 1 billion by 2000 and crossed 1.2 billion in May 2011. It means every sixth person in the world is an Indian.

• According to the 2011 census report, our population growth rate was less than 2% (i.e. 20/1000/year), a rate at which our population could increase rapidly.

Reasons for population explosion

  • Increased health facilities and better living conditions.
  • Rapid decline in death rate, maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR).
  • Increase in number of people in reproducible age.

Control measures

  • Motivate smaller families by using contraceptive methods.
  • Aware people about the slogan Hum Do Hamare Do (we two, our two). Many couples have adopted a ‘one child norm’.
  • Statutory rising of marriageable age of females (18 years) and males (21 years).

Properties of an ideal contraceptive

  • User-friendly, easily available, effective and reversible.
  • No or least side-effects.
  • It should not interfere with sexual drive, desire & sexual act.


  1. Natural/Traditional methods :- Avoid chances of ovum and sperms meeting. It includes
  • Periodic abstinence: Avoid coitus from day 10 to 17 (fertile period) of the menstrual cycle to prevent conception. The fertile period is the period having chances of fertilization.
  • Coitus interruptus (withdrawal): Withdraw penis from the vagina just before ejaculation to avoid insemination.
  • Lactational amenorrhea: It is the absence of menstrual cycle & ovulation due to intense lactation after parturition. Fully breastfeeding increases lactation. This method helps to prevent conception. This is effective up to 6 months following parturition.

Natural methods have no side effects. But chances of failure are high.

  1. Barriers

They prevent the physical meeting of sperm & ovum. E.g.

a. Condoms (E.g. Nirodh):

Made of rubber/latex sheath. Condoms for males: Cover the penis.
Condoms for females: Cover the vagina & cervix. Condoms are used just before coitus. They prevent the entry of semen into the female reproductive tract.
Condoms are very popular because:

male condom
female condom
  • It protects the user from STDs and AIDS.
  • Easily available and disposable.
  • It can be self-inserted and thereby give privacy to users.

b. Diaphragms, cervical caps, and vaults:

  • Made of rubber and are inserted into the female a reproductive tract to cover the cervix during coitus.
  • They block the entry of sperms through the cervix.
  • They are reusable.

c. Spermicidal creams, jellies & foams

Are used along with these barriers to increase contraceptive efficiency.

  1. Intra Uterine Devices (IUDs)

These are inserted by doctors or nurses in the uterus through the vagina. IUDs are the ideal method to delay pregnancy or space children.

Mechanism of functioning of IUDs

▪     It increases phagocytosis of sperms within the uterus

▪     Cu ions released suppress sperm motility and the fertilizing capacity of sperms


Types of IUDs:

  • Non-medicated IUDs: They retard sperm motility. Also have a spermicidal effect.
    E.g. Lippes loop.
  • Copper releasing IUDs: Cu ions suppress motility and fertilizing capacity of sperms.
    E.g. CuT, Cu7, Multiload 375.
  • Hormone releasing IUDs: They make the uterus unsuitable for implantation and the
    cervix hostile to the sperms. E.g. Progestasert, LNG-20.
  1. Oral contraceptives
  • Oral administration of progestogens or progestogen– oestrogen combinations in the form of tablets (pills).


o   Mechanism of action of pills:

  •  Inhibit ovulation and implantation
  •  Alter the quality of cervical mucus to prevent/retard entry of sperms

o   Dosage of pills:

  •    Daily for 21 days of the menstrual cycle.
  •    It should start within the first five days of the menstrual cycle.
  •    Then a gap of 7 days (during menstruation).
  •    This cycle is to be repeated till the time the female wants to prevent conception.

Saheli :

  • Oral contraceptive pill developed by CDRI ( Central Drug Research Institute) Lucknow
  •  Non-steroidal in nature
  •  Low side effect with high contraceptive value
  • Needs to be taken only once a week.

5. Injections or implants under the skin :

  •   Composition: Progestogens alone or in combination with estrogen
  •    Mode of action: Similar to pills
  •    Benefit: effective periods are much longer than pills

Emergency contraceptives

  •    Female can take progesterone or estrogen-progesterone combination preparations.
  •    It must be taken within 72 hours of coitus.
  •    Useful to prevent pregnancy in cases of rape or casual unprotected intercourse.

6.   Surgical method/Sterilisation

  • Terminal method of contraception
  • Non-reversible
  • There will be no more pregnancy

o  Mechanism: Surgical procedure blocks the gamete transport and thereby prevents conception.


  • Sterilisation method in male.
  •  A small portion of the vas deferens is removed or cut and tied.
  • The surgery is performed by making an incision in the scrotum.


  • Sterilisation method in female.
  •  A small portion of the fallopian tube is removed or cut and tied.

 Ill effects of artificial contraceptives

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  •  Breakthrough bleeding
  •  Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Breast cancer

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP)

 Also known as induced abortion.Intentional or voluntary termination of pregnancy before full term (complete development of fetus).

Why MTP is required?

  • To get rid of unwanted pregnancies either due to casual unprotected intercourse, failure of the contraceptive used during coitus, rapes
  •  In case the continuation of the pregnancy could be harmful or even fatal either to the mother or to the fetus or both.

When MTPs are performed

Safe in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks of pregnancy) Riskier in the second trimester.

 Misuse of MTPs

Amniocentesis is misused to determine the sex of the unborn child. In case the fetus is found to be female – MTP is performed – female foeticide.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Also known as venereal diseases (VD) or reproductive tract infections (RTI) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

STIs caused by Bacteria:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydiosis

 STIs caused by Protozoa:

  • Trichomoniasis

 STIs caused by viruses:

  • Genital herpes
  • Genital warts
  •  Hepatitis-b
  • Aids

Hepatitis–B and HIV can also be transmitted by sharing of injection needles, surgical instruments, etc., with infected persons, transfusion of blood, or from an infected mother to the foetus too.

Most of these STIs are completely curable except for hepatitis-B, genital herpes, and HIV infections.

Early symptoms of STIs include the following in the genital region: itching, fluid discharge, slight pain, swellings, etc.,

In case proper treatment is done at the early stages of infection it could lead to complications such as:

  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID)
  •  Abortions
  •  Stillbirths
  • Infertility
  •  Even cancer of the reproductive tract

Ectopic pregnancies (pregnancy in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus / extrauterine pregnancy)

 Simple principles to prevent STIs:

  •  Avoid sex with unknown partners/multiple partners.
  •  Always try to use condoms during coitus.
  •  In case of doubt, one should go to a qualified doctor for early detection and get complete treatment if diagnosed with the infection.


Reasons of Infertility:- physical, congenital, diseases, drugs, immunological, or even psychological.

Infertility Clinics: Specialized health care units that could help in diagnosis and corrective treatment of infertility.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

Special techniques to help infertile couples to have children.

Method 1: (Test tube baby program)

IVF is followed by ET

 IVF- In vitro fertilization: fertilization outside the body

ET – Embryo Transfer


  • Ovum is collected from wife/donor female
  • Sperm is collected from husband/donor male
  • The collected ova and sperm are then fertilized in the laboratory.
  • The zygote is then placed back in the female by either of the two following techniques:

 ZIFT (zygote intra fallopian transfer)

the zygote or early embryos (with up to 8 blastomeres) transferred to the fallopian tube.

IUT (Intra Uterine Transfer)

  • An embryo with more than 8 blastomeres is transferred to the uterus.
  • Embryos formed by in-vivo fertilization also could be used for such transfer to assist those females who cannot conceive.
  • In-Vivo fertilization – a fusion of gametes within the female

Method 2: GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer)

Condition: If a female cannot produce ovum, but can provide a suitable environment for fertilisation


  •  Ovum is collected from a donor.
  • Then it is transferred into the female who cannot produce the ovum.
  • The further development continues as in normal individuals.

Method 3: ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection)

Sperm is directly injected into the ovum to create the embryo in the laboratory condition.

Method 4: AI (Artificial Insemination)

Condition: If the reason of infertility is due to either one of the following reasons:

  • The inability of the male partners to inseminate
  • Very low sperm count


  • Semen is collected from the husband / healthy donor.
  • It is artificially introduced either in the vagina or into the uterus (IUI – intra-uterine insemination) of the female.

 Possible drawbacks of ART

  • These facilities are presently available only in very few centers in the country.
  •  High cost associated.
  •  Many may not accept these methods due to emotional, religious, and social factors.

Legal adoption is one of the best alternative methods for infertile couples looking for parenthood.

INFERTILITY IN HUMAN: Causes &Consequences :-

Oligospermia: Low sperm countAnovulation: Absence of ovulation.
Azospermia: Absence of sperm.Oligoovulation: Deficient ovulation.
Asthenozoospermia: Low sperm motility.Hyperprolactinemia: Ovum remain trapped
inside the follicle.
Teratozoospermia: Defective sperm
Idiopathic Infertility: Failure or abnormal
Cryptorchidism:Failure of Testes to descend in
the scrotal sac.
Tubal Infertility: Damaged/ligated fallopian


1CHLAMYDIOSISChlamydia trachomatis
2GONORRHOEANeisseria gonorrhea
3TRICHOMONIASISTrichomonas vaginalis
4GENITAL HERPES Herpes simplex virus
5SYPHILISTreponema pallidum 
6GENITAL WARTHuman papilloma virus 
7HEPATITIS-BHepatitis –B

CBSE CLASS 12 CHAPTER 1:Reproduction In Organisms

Reproduction is a process in which an organism produces young ones (offspring) similar to itself.

The period from birth to the natural death of an organism is known as its lifespan.

No individual is immortal, except unicellular organisms. There is no natural death in unicellular organisms.

Life spans of some organism


Based on the number of participants, reproduction is of 2 types: Asexual reproduction & Sexual reproduction.


It is the production of offspring by a single parent.

It is seen in unicellular organisms, simple plants & animals.

The offspring are identical to one another and their parents. Such morphologically and genetically similar individuals are known as clones.

Types of asexual reproduction

a. Fission:

In this, the parent cell divides (cell division) into two or more individuals. E.g. Protists and Monerans.

Fission is 2 types:

▪ Binary fission:

It is the division of the parent cell into two individuals. E.g., Amoeba, Paramecium.

▪ Multiple fission:

It is the division of parent cells into many individuals. E.g. Plasmodium, Amoeba.
Under the unfavorable condition, Amoeba withdraws its pseudopodia and secretes a 3-layered hard covering (cyst) around itself. It is called encystation.


Under favorable conditions, encysted Amoeba undergoes multiple fission to give many minute amoeba or pseudopodiospores. The cyst wall bursts out and spores are liberated to grow up into many amoebae. This is called sporulation.

b. Budding:

In this, a bud appears and grows in the parent body. After maturation, it is detached from the parent body to form a new individual. E.g. Hydra, Sponge, Yeast, etc.


c. Fragmentation:

In this, the body breaks into distinct pieces (fragments) and each fragment grows into an adult
capable of producing offspring. E.g. Hydra.


d. Vegetative propagation:

It is the production of offspring from vegetative propagules in plants. Vegetative propagules are units of vegetative propagation. Examples for vegetative propagules:
Buds (‘eyes’) of the potato tuber.
Rhizomes of banana & ginger.

Buds & Rhizomes arise from the nodes of modified stems.
The nodes come in contact with damp soil or water and produce roots and new plants.

Adventitious buds of Bryophyllum. They arise from the notches at the margins of leaves.
Bulbil of Agave.
▪ An offset of water hyacinth.
Runner, sucker, tuber, bulb, etc.


Other asexual reproductive structures:
E.g. zoospores (microscopic motile structures in some algae and protists), conidia (Penicillium), and gemmules (sponge).


Asexual reproduction is the common method in simple organisms like algae and fungi. During adverse conditions, they can shift to sexual methods.

Higher plants reproduce asexually (vegetative) & sexually. But most of the animals show only sexual reproduction.

Sexual Reproduction


In this mode of reproduction, a new offspring is produced by the participation of two parents of the opposite sex.

This type of reproduction is seen in all multicellular organisms including birds, reptiles, dogs, cats, cattle, elephants, etc.

The complete process of sexual reproduction consists of a set of events, including:

  • Pre-fertilization
  • Fertilization
  • Post-fertilization

Advantages of Sexual Reproduction:

  • The involvement of two parents results in the intermingling of genes resulting in the production of a new offspring
  • Genetically identical offspring are produced
  • Variations in species increase the chances of survival hence in the evolutionary advancements.

It is an elaborate, complex, and slow process as compared to sexual reproduction.

The period of growth to reach in maturity for sexual reproduction is called the Juvenile phase. in plants, it is called the vegetative phase.

In higher plants, flowering indicates the end of the vegetative phase and the beginning of the reproductive phase.

Annual and perennial plant Shows reproductive and senescent phases.

 in perennial plants, these phases are very difficult to identify.

some plants exhibit unusual flowering like 

Bamboo species Flower pot only once in their life after 50-100 years and produce a large number of fruits and die.

Strobilanthus kunthiana flowers once in 12 years.

In the animal Juvenile phase is followed by morphological and physiological changes prior to activity reproductive behavior.

Birds living in nature lay eggs only seasonally. forever, birds in captivity that is poultry to lay eggs throughout the year.

 The females of placental mammals exhibit cyclical changes in the ovaries, accessory ducts, and hormones during the reproductive phase.

The cyclical change in is called the oestrus cycle in non-primate-like Cat, sheep. dear, dog tiger, etc and menstrual cycle in primate-like monkeys Apes, and humans.

Best on breeding season mammals are of two types:-

Seasonal breeders -the mammal exhibit in reproductive cycle only during February season.

Continuous breeders – they are reproductively active throughout their reproductive phases.


It is the last phase of life span and end of the reproductive phase.

 during this on comitantes change according to the body example slowing of metabolism it ultimately leads to death.

In plants and animals hormone causes transition between the juvenile and productive and senescence phase.



It is the formation of male and female gametes.

Gamete are haploid and of two types- homogamete (isogamete) Heterogamete.

Homogametes(isogamete):-Similar gametes they cannot categorize into male and female gametes. For example some algae like cladophora

Heterogamete:- The male and female camel chart distinct types. Mil Gaya mat is called antherozoid sperm and female gamete is called the egg (ovum) example in fucus an alga and human beings.

Fertilization – Internal And External Fertilization

Living organisms ensure their continuance on the earth by reproduction. Reproduction may occur either asexually or sexually.

There is an evident difference between sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction. The sexual mode is a more complex process than the asexual mode.

One crucial difference is the fertilization. It is the main stage of sexual reproduction, which is absent in asexual mode. Let’s learn more about types of fertilization.

Fertilization in Animals

The process of fusion of sperm with egg (ovum) to produce a zygote is called fertilization. It is the crucial and primary stage of sexual reproduction. During sexual intercourse, the penis ejaculates millions of sperms into the vagina of the woman.

Sperms will travel through the uterus to oviducts. At the oviduct, one out of million sperms fertilizes the released ovum. The fertilized egg develops into a zygote. Without the fusion of gametes, sexual reproduction is futile. It doesn’t occur in asexual reproduction

Fertilization in most of the animals is similar to that in humans. Animals also produce gametes for fusion. But the fusion of gametes may take place inside or outside the body.

Based on this, fertilization is of two types – internal and external fertilization.

Internal Fertilization

In sexual reproduction, the male inserts the sperms into the female reproductive tract to fuse with the egg. If the fusion takes place within the female parent, it is called internal fertilization.

In humans, most of the animals like cats, lions, pigs, dogs, hens, etc., the fusion of gametes takes place internally. In this type, a zygote is formed within the mother and gets its nourishment from her.

External Fertilization

When the fusion of sperm and egg takes place outside the female parent, it is called external fertilization. Only a minority of organisms exhibit this type of gamete fusion.

For example, fish, frogs, etc. Here the female parent deposits her eggs in a place and later, the male parent ejects his sperms over them, then fusion takes place.

Gametes that fuse externally have to face many challenges. Since eggs and sperms are deposited in the external environment, the chances of fusion are very less.

Predators may eat eggs and the zygote that is formed. To compensate for this loss, organisms like fish and frogs lay hundreds of eggs at a time.


Fertilization results in diploid zygote formation. Eventually, the zygote divides mitotically and develops as an embryo. This process is called embryogenesis.

During embryogenesis, the cell differentiates and modifies accordingly. Zygote development depends on the organism and its life cycle.

Animals are classified into oviparous and viviparous based on whether the zygote develops outside or inside the body respectively. In angiosperms, the zygote develops into the ovary and the ovary transforms into the fruit while ovules develop into seeds.

Embryo Development


Embryo development refers to the different stages in the development of an embryo. Embryonic development of plants and animals vary. Even in animals, every species undergoes different stages during embryonic development

  • Embryogenesis is defined as the process of development of the embryo from the zygote. During embryogenesis, the zygote undergoes cell division (mitosis) and cell differentiation.
  • Cell divisions will lead to the increase in the number of cells in the developing embryo, while cell differentiation helps the group of cells undergo certain modifications to form specialized tissues and organs to form organisms.
  • In animals, if the development of the zygote takes place in the body of the female parent, it is called viviparous. 
  • In egg-laying animals such as reptiles and birds, fertilized eggs, which are covered by a hard calcareous shell, are deposited in a safe place in the environment. After an incubation period, the young hatch. It is called Oviparus
  • On the other hand, in viviparous animals such as mammals, including humans, the zygote develops into a cub that emerges from the mother’s body. The chances of survival of the young are greater with live-bearing organisms due to adequate embryonic care and protection.

In the case of Angiospermic plants, the zygote is formed, inside the ovule. Once fertilization takes place, different parts like the sepals, petals, and stamens of the flower fall off. The pistil is the only part that remains attached to the plant.

In plants:

  1. The zygote develops into an embryo.
  2. Ovule develops into a seed
  3. The integument of the ovule develops into a seed coat.
  4. The ovary develops into a fruit.
  5. Ovary wall develops into pericarp and is protective in function.
  • After dispersal, seeds germinate under favourable conditions to produce new plants


All flowering plants (angiosperms) show sexual reproduction. Flowers are the sites of sexual reproduction. Reproduction in flowering plants class 12 notes


  • Several hormonal and structural changes result in the differentiation and development of the floral primordium.
  • Inflorescences bear the floral buds and then the flowers.


sexual-reproduction-in-flowering- plants-class-12-notes

A typical flower has 2 parts: Androecium & Gynoecium.

Androecium (whorl of Stamens)

It is the male reproductive part of the flower.
It consists of a whorl of stamens. Their number and length are variable in different species.

A stamen has 2 parts:

a. Filament: Long and slender stalk. Its proximal end is attached to the thalamus or the petal of the flower.

b. Anther: Terminal and typically bilobed. Each lobe has 2 thecae (dithecous). Often a longitudinal groove runs lengthwise separating the theca.

Transverse section of anther

sexual-reproduction-in-flowering- plants-class-12-notes
  • The anther is a tetragonal structure consisting of four microsporangia located at the corners.
  • Each lobe consists of two microsporangia.
  • The microsporangia develop into pollen sacs. They extend longitudinally all through the length of an anther and are packed with pollen grains.

Structure of a microsporangium:

  • A typical microsporangium is near circular in outline. – It is surrounded by four wall layers– the epidermis, endothecium, middle layers & tapetum.
  • The outer 3 layers give protection and help in the dehiscence of anther to release the pollen.
  • The tapetum (innermost layer) nourishes the developing pollen grains for living.
  • – Cells of the tapetum contain dense cytoplasm and generally have more than one nucleus.

When the anther is young, a group of compactly arranged homogenous cells (sporogenous tissue) occupies the center of each microsporangium.


  • As the anther develops, each cell of sporogenous tissue undergo meiotic divisions to form microspore tetrads (microspores are arranged in a cluster of four cells).
  • Each one is a potential pollen (microspore mother cell).
  • The formation of microspores from a pollen mother cell (PMC) through meiosis is called microsporogenesis.
  • As the anthers mature and dehydrate, the microspores dissociate from each other and develop into pollen grains.
  • Each microsporangium contains thousands of pollen grains.
    They are released with the dehiscence of anther.
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Pollen grain (male gametophyte):

Generally spherical, 25-50 micrometer in diameter . Cytoplasm surrounded by a plasma membrane.
A pollen grain has a two-layered wall: exine and intine.

o Exine: The hard outer layer. Made up of sporopollenin (highly resistant organic material).

It can withstand high temperatures and strong acids and alkali. Enzymes cannot degrade sporopollenin.

Exine has apertures called germ pores where sporopollenin is absent.

Pollen grains are preserved as fossils due to the presence of sporopollenin. Exine exhibits patterns and designs.

o Intine: The inner wall. It is a thin and continuous layer made up of cellulose and pectin.

A matured pollen grain contains 2 cells:

o Vegetative cell: It is bigger, has abundant food reserve and a large irregularly shaped nucleus.

o Generative cell: It is small and floats in the cytoplasm of the vegetative cell. It is spindle-shaped with dense cytoplasm and a nucleus.

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In over 60% of angiosperms, pollen grains are shed at the 2-celled stage. In others, the generative cell divides mitotically to give rise to the two male gametes before pollen grains are shed (3-celled stage).

  • The shed pollen grains have to land on the stigma before they lose viability. The viability period of pollen grains is variable. It depends on temperature and humidity.
  • The viability of pollen grains of some cereals (rice, wheat, etc.) is 30 minutes. Some members of Leguminosae, Rosaceae & Solanaceae have viability for months.

Economic importance of pollen grains:

o These are rich in nutrients. Pollen tablets are used as food supplements. Pollen tablets & syrups increase the performance of athletes and racehorses.

o Pollen grains can be stored for years in liquid nitrogen (-196 degree Celcius). They are used as pollen banks, similar to seed banks, in crop breeding programmes.

o Pollen grains of some plants (e.g. Parthenium or carrot grass) are allergic for some people. It leads to chronic respiratory disorders – asthma, bronchitis, etc.

Gynoecium (Pistil)

  • It represents the female reproductive part of the flower.
  • It may consist of a single pistil (monocarpellary) or more than one pistil (multicarpellary).
  • In multicarpellary, the pistils may be fused (syncarpous) or free (apocarpous).
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A. Hibiscuss pistil B.Multicarpellary , syncarpous pistil of Papaver C. Multicarpellary apocarpous gynoceium of Michellia

Each pistil has three parts:

o Stigma: It is a landing platform for pollen grains.
o Style: It is an elongated slender part beneath the stigma.
o Ovary: It is the basal bulged part of the pistil. Inside the ovary is the ovarian cavity (locule) in which the placenta is located. Arising from the placenta are the ovules (megasporangia). The number of ovules in an ovary may be one (wheat, paddy, mango etc.) to many (papaya, water melon, orchids etc.).

Megasporangium (Ovule)

  • It is a small structure attached to the placenta through a stalk (funicle). The junction where the body of the ovule and funicle fuse is called the hilum.
  • Each ovule has one or two protective envelopes called integuments. Integuments encircle the ovule except at the tip where a small opening (micropyle) is present.
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  • Opposite the micropylar end is the chalaza (basal part).
  • Enclosed within the integuments, there is a mass of cells called nucellus. Its cells contain reserve food materials.
  • Located in the nucellus is the embryo sac (female gametophyte). An ovule generally has a single embryo sac formed from a megaspore through meiosis.


It is the formation of megaspores from the megaspore mother cell (MMC).

– Ovules generally differentiate a single megaspore mother cell in the micropylar region of the nucellus.

It is a large cell containing dense cytoplasm and a prominent nucleus.

– The MMC undergoes meiotic division. It results in the production of 4 megaspores.

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Female gametophyte (embryo sac):

In a majority of flowering plants, one of the megaspores is functional while the other three degenerate.

– The functional megaspore develops into the female gametophyte. This method of embryo sac formation from a single megaspore is termed monosporic development.

Formation of the embryo sac:

The nucleus of the functional megaspore divides mitotically to form two nuclei. They move to the opposite poles, forming a 2-nucleate embryo sac.

– The nuclei again divide two times forming 4-nucleate and 8-nucleate stages of the embryo sac.

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These divisions are strictly free nuclear, i.e. nuclear divisions are not followed immediately by cell wall formation.

– After the 8-nucleate stage, cell walls are laid down leading to the organization of the typical female gametophyte or embryo sac.

– 6 of the 8 nuclei are surrounded by cell walls and organized into cells.

Remaining 2 nuclei (polar nuclei) are situated below the egg apparatus in the large central cell.
Distribution of the cells within the embryo sac: A typical mature embryo sac is 8-nucleate and 7-celled.

o 3 cells are grouped at the micropylar end and form egg apparatus. It consists of 2 synergids and one egg cell.

o Synergids have special cellular thickenings at the micropylar tip called filiform apparatus. It helps to guide the pollen tubes into the synergid.

o 3 cells at the chalazal end are called the antipodals.

o The large central cell has two polar nuclei.


  • It is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma of a pistil.
  • Some external agents help the plants for pollination. Depending on the source of pollen, pollination is 3 types.

a. Autogamy |self pollination

In this, pollen grains transfer from the anther to the stigma of the same flower.
In flowers with exposed anthers & stigma, complete autogamy is rare.

Autogamy in such flowers requires synchrony in pollen release and stigma receptivity. Also, anthers & stigma should lie close to each other.
Plants like Viola (common pansy), Oxalis & Commelina produce 2 types of flowers:

• Chasmogamous flowers: They are similar to flowers of other species with exposed anthers and stigma.

• Cleistogamous flowers: They do not open at all. Anthers & stigma lie close to each other.
They are autogamous. When anthers dehisce in the flower buds, pollen grains come in contact with the stigma for pollination.
Cleistogamous flowers produce assured seed-set even in the absence of pollinators.

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b. Geitonogamy:

In this, pollen grains transfer from the anther to the stigma of another flower of the same plant.
It is functionally cross-pollination involving a pollinating agent. But it is genetically similar to autogamy since the pollen grains come from the same plant.

c. Xenogamy |cross pollination

In this, pollen grains transfer from anther to the stigma of a different plant. It brings genetically different pollen grains to the stigma.

Agents of Pollination

1.Abiotic agents (wind & water)

Pollination by wind (anemophily):

More common abiotic agent. – Wind pollinated flowers often have a single ovule in each ovary and numerous flowers packed into an inflorescence.

E.g. Corncob – the tassels are the stigma and style which wave in the wind to trap pollen grains. Wind-pollination is quite common in grasses.

Ways for effective pollination:

  • The flowers produce an enormous amount of pollen.
  • The pollen grains are light and non-sticky so that they can be transported in wind currents.
  • They often possess well-exposed stamens (for easy dispersion of pollens into wind currents).
  • Large, feathery stigma to trap air-borne pollen grains.

Pollination by water (hydrophily):

It is quite rare. It is limited to about 30 genera, mostly monocotyledons. E.g. Vallisneria & Hydrilla (freshwater), Zostera (marine sea-grasses), etc.

As against this, water is a regular mode of transport for the male gametes among the lower plants.

It is believed, particularly for some bryophytes & pteridophytes, that their distribution is limited because of the need for water for the transport of male gametes and fertilization.

In Vallisneria, the female flower reaches the surface of the water by the long stalk and the male flowers or pollen grains are released onto the surface of the water.

They are carried by water currents and reach the female flowers.

In seagrasses, female flowers remain submerged in water. Pollen grains are long and ribbon-like. They are carried inside the water and reach the stigma.

– The pollen grains of most of the water-pollinated species have a mucilaginous covering to protect from wetting.

Not all aquatic plants use hydrophily. In most aquatic plants (water hyacinth, water lily, etc.), the flowers emerge above the level of water for entomophily or anemophily.

– Wind and water pollinated flowers are not very colorful and do not produce nectar.

2.Biotic agents (animals)

  • The majority of flowering plants use animals as pollinating agents. E.g. Bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, wasps, ants, moths, birds (sunbirds & hummingbirds) bats, primates (lemurs), arboreal (tree-dwelling) rodents, reptiles (gecko lizard & garden lizard), etc.
  • Pollination by insects (Entomophily), particularly bees are more common.
  • Often flowers of animal pollinated plants are specifically adapted for a particular species of animal.

Features of insect-pollinated flowers:

  • Large, colorful, fragrant, and rich in nectar. Nectar & pollen grains are the floral rewards for pollination.
  • When the flowers are small, they form inflorescence to make them visible.
  • The flowers pollinated by flies and beetles secrete foul odors to attract these animals.
  • The pollen grains are generally sticky.
  • When the animal comes in contact with the anthers and the stigma, its body gets pollen grains. When it comes in contact with the stigma, it results in pollination.
  • Some plants provide safe places as a floral reward to lay eggs.

E.g. Amorphophallus (It has the tallest flower of 6 feet).
A moth species and the plant Yucca cannot complete their life cycles without each other.

The moth deposits its eggs in the locule of the ovary. The flower gets pollinated by moths.
The larvae come out of the eggs as seeds start developing.

Many insects consume pollen or nectar without bringing about pollination. They are called pollen/nectar robbers.

Outbreeding Devices:

Hermaphrodite flowers can undergo self-pollination. Continued self-pollination results in inbreeding depression.

To avoid self-pollination and encourage cross-pollination, there are some devices in plants:

a. Avoiding synchronization: Here, the pollen is released before the stigma becomes receptive or the stigma becomes receptive before the release of pollen. It prevents autogamy.

b. Arrangement of anther & stigma at different positions: This also prevents autogamy.

c. Self-incompatibility: It is a genetic mechanism to prevent self-pollen (from the same flower or other flowers of the same plant) from fertilization by inhibiting pollen germination or pollen tube growth in the pistil.

d. Production of unisexual flowers: If male & female flowers are present on the same plant (i.e., monoecious, e.g. castor & maize), it prevents autogamy but not geitonogamy.

In dioecious plants (e.g. papaya), male and female flowers are present on different plants (dioecy). This prevents both autogamy and geitonogamy.

Pollen-pistil Interaction:

It is a process in which pistil recognizes compatible or incompatible pollen through the chemical components produced by them.

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– If the pollen is compatible (right type), the pistil accepts it and promotes post-pollination events. Pollen grain germinates on the stigma to produce a pollen tube through one of the germ pores.

The contents of the pollen grain move into the pollen tube. The pollen tube grows through the tissues of stigma and style and reaches the ovary.

If the pollen is incompatible (wrong type), the pistil rejects pollen by preventing pollen germination on the stigma or the pollen tube growth in the style.

In some plants, pollen grains are shed at 2-celled conditions (a vegetative cell & a generative cell). In such plants, the generative cell divides and forms the two male gametes during the growth of the pollen tubes in the stigma.

In plants that shed pollen in the 3-celled condition, pollen tubes carry 2 male gametes from the beginning.

– Pollen tube reaches the ovary, then enters the ovule through the micropyle, and then enters one of the synergids through the filiform apparatus.

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The filiform apparatus present at the micropylar part of the synergids guides the entry of the pollen tube.

A plant breeder can manipulate pollen-pistil interaction, even in incompatible pollinations, to get desired hybrids.

Artificial hybridisation:

  • It is a crop improvement programme in which desired pollen grains are used for pollination.
  • This is achieved by the following techniques:

o Emasculation: Removal of anthers from the bisexual flower bud of a female parent before the anther dehisces.

o Bagging: Here, emasculated flowers are covered with a suitable bag (made up of butter paper) to prevent contamination of its stigma with unwanted pollen.

When the stigma attains receptivity, mature pollen grains collected from anthers of the male parent are dusted on the stigma.

Then the flowers are rebagged and allowed to develop the fruits.

For unisexual flowers, there is no need for emasculation. Female flower buds are bagged before the flowers open.

When the stigma becomes receptive, pollination is carried out using the desired pollen and the flower rebagged.

DOUBLE FERTILISATION |Describe Double Fertilization In Plants

After entering one of the synergids, the pollen tube releases the 2 male gametes into the cytoplasm of the synergid.

One male gamete moves towards the egg cell and fuses with its nucleus (syngamy). This forms the zygote (a diploid cell).

The other male gamete moves towards the two polar nuclei located in the central cell and fuses with them to produce a triploid primary endosperm nucleus (PEN). As it involves the fusion of 3 haploid nuclei, it is called triple fusion.

sexual-reproduction-in-flowering- plants-class-12-doublefertilization

Since 2 types of fusions (syngamy & triple fusion) take place in an embryo sac, it is called double fertilization.

It is an event unique to flowering plants.

The central cell after triple fusion becomes the primary endosperm cell (PEC) and develops into the endosperm while the zygote develops into an embryo.

POST- FERTILISATION: STRUCTURES & EVENTS |what are post-fertilization events

Post-fertilisation events: Endosperm & embryo development, maturation of ovule(s) into seed(s) & ovary into fruit.

Endosperm development

The primary endosperm cell divides repeatedly and forms a triploid endosperm tissue.

Endosperm cells are filled with reserve food materials. They are used for the nutrition of the developing embryo.

In common endosperm development, the PEN undergoes successive nuclear divisions to give rise to free nuclei. This stage is called the free-nuclear endosperm. The number of free nuclei varies greatly.

The endosperm becomes cellular due to the cell wall formation. The tender coconut water is a free-nuclear endosperm (made up of thousands of nuclei) and the surrounding white kernel is the cellular endosperm.

Embryo development

The embryo develops at the micropylar end of the embryo sac where the zygote is situated.

– Most zygotes divide only after the formation of a certain amount of endosperm. This is an adaptation to provide nutrition to the developing embryo.

Though the seeds differ greatly, the embryogeny (early embryonic developments) is similar in monocots & dicots.

– The zygote gives rise to the proembryo and subsequently to the globular, heart-shaped, and mature embryo.

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Dicotyledonous embryo

  • It has an embryonal axis and 2 cotyledons.
  • – The portion of the embryonal axis above the level of cotyledons is the epicotyl, which terminates with the plumule (stem tip).
  • – The cylindrical portion below the level of cotyledons is hypocotyl that terminates with the radicle (root tip). The root tip is covered with a root cap.

Monocotyledonous embryo

They possess only one cotyledon.

In the grass family, the cotyledon is called the scutellum. – It is situated lateral to the embryonal axis.

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At its lower end, the embryonal axis has the radicle and root cap enclosed in coleorhiza (an undifferentiated sheath).

– Portion of the embryonal axis above the level of attachment of the scutellum is the epicotyl.

It has a shoot apex and a few leaf primordia enclosed in coleoptile (a hollow foliar structure).

Seed from Ovule

  • Seed is the fertilized ovule formed inside fruits. It is the final product of sexual reproduction. – It consists of seed coat(s), cotyledon(s) & an embryo axis.
  • The cotyledons are simple, generally thick, and swollen due to storage food (as in legumes).

Mature seeds are 2 types:

  • Non-albuminous seeds: have no residual endosperm as it is completely consumed during embryo development (e.g., pea, groundnut, beans).
  • Albuminous seeds: retain a part of endosperm as it is not completely used up during embryo development (e.g., wheat, maize, barley, castor, coconut, sunflower).

Occasionally, in some seeds (black pepper, beet, etc.) remnants of nucellus are also persistent. It is called perisperm.

Integuments of ovules harden as tough protective seed coats. It has a small pore (micropyle) through which O2 & water enter into the seed during germination.

As the seed matures, its water content is reduced and seeds become dry (10-15 % moisture by mass). The general metabolic activity of the embryo slows down.

The embryo may enter a state of inactivity (dormancy). If favorable conditions are available (adequate moisture, oxygen, and suitable temperature), they germinate.

Fruit from Ovary

The ovary develops into a fruit. Transformation of ovules into seeds and ovary into fruit proceeds simultaneously.

– The wall of the ovary develops into the pericarp (wall of fruit).

The fruits may be fleshy (e.g. guava, orange, mango, etc.) or dry (e.g. groundnut, mustard etc.).

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– Fruits are 2 types:

o True fruits : In most plants, the fruit develops only from the ovary and other floral parts degenerate and fall off. They called true fruits.

o False fruits : In this, the thalamus also contributes to fruit formation. E.g. apple, strawberry, cashew etc.

In some species, fruits develop without fertilization. Such fruits are called parthenocarpic fruits. E.g. Banana.

Parthenocarpy can be induced through the application of growth hormones. Such fruits are seedless.

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Advantages of seeds:

  • Since pollination and fertilisation are independent of water, seed formation is more dependable.
  • Seeds have better adaptive strategies for dispersal to new habitats and help the species to colonize in other areas.
  • They have food reserves. So young seedlings are nourished until they are capable of photosynthesis.
  • The hard seed coat protects the young embryo.
  • Being products of sexual reproduction, they generate new genetic combinations leading to variations
  • Dehydration and dormancy of mature seeds are crucial for the storage of seeds. It can be used as food throughout the year and also to raise crops in the next season.

Viability of seeds after dispersal:

In a few species, the seeds lose viability within a few months. Seeds of many species live for several years.

Some seeds can remain alive for hundreds of years. The oldest is that of a lupine (Lupinus arcticus) excavated from Arctic Tundra. The seed germinated and flowered after an estimated record of 10,000 years of dormancy.

– 2000 years old viable seed is of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) discovered during the archeological excavation at King Herod’s palace near the Dead Sea.


Apomixis is the production of seeds without fertilization. E.g. Some species of Asteraceae and grasses.

  • It is a form of asexual reproduction that mimics sexual reproduction.

Development of apomictic seeds:

In some species, the diploid egg cell is formed without reduction division and develops into the embryo without fertilization.

In many species (e.g. many Citrus & Mango varieties) some of the nucellar cells surrounding the embryo sac divide, protrude into the embryo sac, and develop into the embryos.

In such a species, each ovule contains many embryos. The occurrence of more than one embryo in a seed is called polyembryony.

Importance of apomixis in the hybrid seed industry

  • If the seeds collected from hybrids are sown, the plants in the progeny will segregate and lose hybrid characters.
  • Production of hybrid seeds is costly. Hence the cost of hybrid seeds is also expensive for the farmers.
  • If the hybrids are made into apomicts, there is no segregation of characters in the hybrid progeny. Then the farmers can keep on using the hybrid seeds to raise new crops year after year.