Janine Benyus, in an interview in Trim Tag Magazine (see previous BENTHOS post), talked about the Wood-Wide Web: “If you’ve been taught in forestry that every tree is out there for itself, eventually you realize that they are all connected underground by a mycorrhizal net called the “Wood Wide Web”. They are exchanging nutrients, water and chemical alarm signals about pests with one another. They are connected even though they are not genetically related. “This is something that we teach. We hear a lot of gasps and shocks when we discuss mutualisms because it basically goes against how economics is taught. It’s not a go-it-alone world out there as I was taught.” The Wood-Wide Web is the interconnected world of plant roots and fungal filaments call mycelium. As Janine points out, we used to think that each plant, each fungus, each organism was separate. We knew about mutualisms, but weren't aware of this degree of sharing--nutrients, water, [...]
We humans have body clocks or circadian rhythms that control when we wake up, when we go to sleep, and even how hungry we feel. It’s why we succumb to jetlag when we go overseas. But plants also have daily rhythms that affect the way they grow and also how they transport nutrients.
Shelf life is an important quality trait for many fruit, including tomatoes. We report that enrichment of anthocyanin, a natural pigment, in tomatoes can significantly extend shelf life. Processes late in ripening are suppressed by anthocyanin accumulation, and susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea, one of the most important postharvest pathogens, is reduced in purple tomato fruit. We show that reduced susceptibility to B. cinerea is dependent specifically on the accumulation of anthocyanins, which alter the spreading of the ROS burst during infection. The increased antioxidant capacity of purple fruit likely slows the processes of overripening. Enhancing the levels of natural antioxidants in tomato provides a novel strategy for extending shelf life by genetic engineering or conventional breeding.
The surface of plants (with a few exceptions, such as those that live submerged under water) is covered with a tough, transparent, waxy layer called the cuticle, composed of cutin secreted by the layer of epidermal cells that it covers.
A cheap and simple process using natural fibers embedded with nanoparticles can almost completely rid water of harmful textile dyes in minutes, report Cornell University and Colombian researchers who worked with native Colombian plant Frucarea andina.
Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source.
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