Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science
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Mushrooms are the new styrofoam - opinion - 17 June 2013 - New Scientist

Eben Bayer's company makes packaging from agricultural waste and the mycelium of mushrooms – he says the next step is to make building materials this way
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Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science
Medicinal Plants, Phytochemistry and Applied Botany
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Coffee Is Good, Coffee Is Bad: Which Is It?

Coffee Is Good, Coffee Is Bad: Which Is It? | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
New guidelines from the World Health Organization say drinking coffee may prevent cancer, and represent the latest in a long debate over the harms and benefits of a beloved beverage.
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Studiare le piante marziane… sulla Terra

Studiare le piante marziane… sulla Terra | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Per adesso non c'è ancora la tecnologia per andare a vivere e lavorare su Marte, ma intanto ricercatori e astronauti studiano e si preparano a quella che sarà la più rischiosa e importante missione con equipaggio umano. Gli astrobiologi si focalizzano sullo studio di funghi e licheni in zone estreme del nostro pianeta, come il deserto dello Utah | COME CI SI PREPARA AL VIAGGIO VERSO MARTE
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Genetically modified Golden Rice falls short on lifesaving promises

Genetically modified Golden Rice falls short on lifesaving promises | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Heralded on the cover of Time magazine in 2000 as a genetically modified (GMO) crop with the potential to save millions of lives in the Third World, Golden Rice is still years away from field introduction and even then, may fall short of lofty health benefits still cited regularly by GMO advocates, suggests a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.
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Not so superfoods

Not so superfoods | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Nice to see what I hope is the beginning of a “superfoods” backlash, spearheaded by Sense About Science and their Ask For Evidence campaign, together with the British Dietetic Association: Bioversity’s DG Ann Tutwiler gave the compellingly titled presentation On
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The Search For Tastier Supermarket Tomatoes: A Tale In 3 Acts

The Search For Tastier Supermarket Tomatoes: A Tale In 3 Acts | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Supermarket tomatoes have a terrible reputation. But the industry is evolving. More than half of supermarket tomatoes now are grown in greenhouses or "shade houses," and flavor is improving.
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Yale Environment 360: Climate Change Could Be MakingFood Crops More Toxic, UN Report Says

Yale Environment 360: Climate Change Could Be MakingFood Crops More Toxic, UN Report Says | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
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Extreme weather increasing level of toxins in food, scientists warn

Extreme weather increasing level of toxins in food, scientists warn | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As they struggle to deal with more extreme weather, a range of food crops are generating more of chemical compounds that
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Cataloguing the world’s plants

Cataloguing the world’s plants | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Over 20% of the world’s wild plant species are threatened with extinction, according to a report published by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew
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"The Ghosts of Cultivation Past"

"The Ghosts of Cultivation Past" | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
All too often we think of a species' niche as a sort of address. Species
will be present in suitable habitat and absent from unsuitable habitat.
Certainly this oversimplification has been useful to us, however, it often
ignores context. Species, especially long lived ones, can often be found in
unsuitable habitat. Similarly, biotic interactions such as pollinators and
seed dispersers are regularly overlooked when considering "suitable
habitat." The absence of factors such as this can leave plants stranded in
suboptimal conditions. 

A recent paper published in PLOS One tackles this very idea by looking at a
species of tree many of us will be familiar with - the honey locust (
Gleditsia triacanthos). This central North American legume is widely
planted as a street/landscape tree all over the United States. Ecologically
speaking, honey locusts can be found growing wild in open xeric upland
sites. In places like the southern Appalachian Mountains, however, they can
also be found growing in mesic bottomlands. Regardless of where it is
found, the honey locust seems to be severely dispersal limited (except in
cases where cattle and other livestock have been introduced). 

Before modern times, honey locust likely relied on Pleistocene megafauna to
get around. The end of the Pleistocene marked the end of these large
mammals. Left behind were many different plant species that had evolved
alongside them. For a small handful of these plants, humans were a saving
grace. Such is the case for the honey locust. Inside the honey locust pods
there is a sugary pulp, which in southern Appalachia, the Cherokee were
quite fond of. The Cherokee also used the tree for making weapons and
gamesticks. As such, the honey locust holds great cultural significance, so
much so that the Cherokee named at least one settlement "Kulsetsiyi" (more
commonly known today as Cullasaja), which translates to "honey locust
place." 

Author, Dr. Robert Warren, noticed that in southern Appalachia, "Every time
I saw a honey locust, I could throw a rock and hit an archaeological site.”
What's more, the trees were not recruiting well unless cattle or some other
form of human disturbance was present. This species seemed to be a prime
candidate for testing persistent legacy effects in tree distributions. 

Using seed germination experiments and lots of mapping, Dr. Warren was able
to demonstrate that honey locust distributions in the southern Appalachian
region are more closely tied to Cherokee settlements than its own niche
requirements. The germination experiments strengthened this correlation by
showing that mesic bottomlands had the lowest germination and survival
rates. 

Additionally, these sites are well known as former sites of Cherokee
settlement and agriculture. Because this tree held such significance to
their culture, it is quite likely that in lieu of Pleistocene megafauna,
Native Americans, and eventually European livestock, allowed the honey
locust to reclaim some of its former glory. Of course, today it is a staple
of horticulture. Still, the point is that despite being found growing in a
variety of habitat types, the honey locust is very often found in
unsuitable habitat where it cannot reproduce without a helping hand. In the
southern Appalachian region, honey locust distributions are more a
reflection of Native American cultural practices.

Photo Credit: Cambridge Botanic Garden

Further Reading:
http://bit.ly/27SySpq
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Mongol hordes gave up on conquering Europe due to wet weather

Mongol hordes gave up on conquering Europe due to wet weather | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A soggy winter in the 1240s turned parts of central Europe into a swamp, forcing the Mongols led by Genghis Khan's grandson to retreat to feed their horses
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As World Warms, How Do We Decide When a Plant is Native? by Janet Marinelli: Yale Environment 360

As World Warms, How Do We Decide When a Plant is Native? by Janet Marinelli: Yale Environment 360 | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
The fate of a tree planted at poet Emily Dickinson's home raises questions about whether gardeners can — or should — play a role in helping plant species migrate in the face of rising temperatures and swiftly changing botanical zones.
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Quando l’uomo ha colorato le carote

Quando l’uomo ha colorato le carote | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
È stato recentemente sequenziato l’intero codice genetico della carota. Oltre a permettere numerosi miglioramenti delle qualità dell’ortaggio, la conoscenza del suo DNA spiega come l’uomo, addomesticandola, abbia modificato le proprietà di questa radice
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L’odore guida le falene al fiore più adatto

L’odore guida le falene al fiore più adatto | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Una ricerca del Max Planck Institute ha illustrato un meccanismo di coevoluzione che permette alla sfinge del tabacco di massimizzare il guadagno energetico dirigendosi immediatamente verso la pianta che corrisponde alla lunghezza della sua proboscide
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Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants

Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.
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Can Planting More Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies? It's Complicated

Can Planting More Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies? It's Complicated | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Conservationists have long blamed farmers' use of pesticides for decimating the milkweed that monarch caterpillars like to eat. But scientists say simply planting more milkweed isn't the answer.
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Scientists discover oldest plant root stem cells

Scientists discover oldest plant root stem cells | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
The oldest known population of plant root stem cells have now been found in a 320-million-year-old fossil. The cells, which gave rise to the roots of an ancient plant, were found in a fossilized root tip held in the Oxford University Herbaria.
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Press Releases May 2016 - Toxic Crops and Zoonotic Disease: UNEP Identifies the Emerging Environmental Issues of Our Time - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Press Releases May 2016 - Toxic Crops and Zoonotic Disease: UNEP Identifies the Emerging Environmental Issues of Our Time - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
New report goes behind the headlines to examine some of the most worrying emerging environmental threats facing the world today, while offering ways to combat them
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Researchers around the world are learning from indigenous communities. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

Researchers around the world are learning from indigenous communities. Here’s why that’s a good thing. | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Researchers around the world are learning from indigenous communities. That’s a good thing.
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Countering antibiotic resistance

Countering antibiotic resistance | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
DRUG resistance is simple to understand yet often misunderstood. Antibiotics mostly kill bugs by either blocking the synthesis of new proteins or interferin
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Study could help cities improve tree planting

Study could help cities improve tree planting | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
Through their research, scientists developed thresholds of impervious surface around planting sites. In other words, they defined points at which the amount of pavement around a tree reduces its condition. Using these established levels of impervious surface, landscape architects and other landscape professionals can plant trees in a way that reduces pest damage and economic loss.
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The taste or smell of foods can affect aging, say scientists

The taste or smell of foods can affect aging, say scientists | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
POSTECH researchers, Seung-Jae Lee and Murat Artan, discovered that the smell or taste of food can directly shorten lifespan by affecting sensory neurons that produce insulin-6, an insulin hormone-like factor. They also showed that insulin-6 from sensory neurons alters the action of a well-known anti-aging protein called FOXO in various tissues. Their findings were published in Genes & Development as the cover article.
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No, this isn’t the start of the antibiotic apocalypse, just bad reporting

No, this isn’t the start of the antibiotic apocalypse, just bad reporting | Erba Volant - Applied Plant Science | Scoop.it
New drug-resistant infection is cause for measured concern, but let’s get the facts straight.
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