Plant Science
Follow
Find
4.4K views | +0 today
Plant Science
Useful information on Plant Science in the UK and further a field
Curated by Ruth Bastow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Ruth Bastow
Scoop.it!

First land plants plunged Earth into ice

First land plants plunged Earth into ice | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Never underestimate moss. When the simple plants first arrived on land, almost half a billion years ago, they triggered both an ice age and a mass extinction of ocean life.

The first land plants appeared around 470 million years ago, during the Ordovician period, when life was diversifying rapidly. They were non-vascular plants, like mosses and liverworts, that didn't have deep roots.

About 35 million years later, ice sheets briefly covered much of the planet and a mass extinction ensued. Carbon dioxide levels probably fell sharply just before the ice arrived – but nobody knew why.

Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter, UK, and colleagues think the mosses and liverworts are to blame.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Scoop.it!

Do plants smell? Question and answer with an interested grandmother

Do plants smell? Question and answer with an interested grandmother | Plant Science | Scoop.it

A while back we got this question from a grandmother, and wanted to share her insightful question and our reply. Feel free to comment or pass along.

 

"I am Hailey (9) and Jessica (7) grandmother.. After watching the news about “bomb sniffing plants” (http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17210850), the Grandgirls would like to know “Do Plants Smell?” Do Plants Smell? Is there an olfactory-like response in the detection of explosives… like a “bomb sniffing “ dog.. or akin to a fish detecting an odor (‘sharks smell blood”) Now I’m beginning to wonder… is the question “Do Plants Smell” also the experiment??? If so, how would little kids demonstrate the experiment???

 

Here's our reply:

 

Hiya Grandmother, What a great question!

The answer of course, Yes, and No.

The sense of smell is fundamentally the ability of a cell to perceive a chemical compound. All cells can do this – from bacteria to human to plant. Cells perceive chemicals in most cases by specific receptor proteins. The types of receptor proteins varies from cell to cell, so bacteria have a different range of chemicals they can perceive than humans or plants do. One way to think of receptors and the chemicals they perceive is like a lock and key – the receptors are similarly structured proteins that are activated only by a very narrow range of chemicals – the key. (In the case of June Medford’s work, she modified a plant chemical receptor so it would detect a different compound than it normally would – kind of like when a locksmith changes the lock on your door so that it fits a new key).

 

When we smell a chemical (when the chemical binds to its receptor) the receptor sends an electrical impulse through a nerve, which sends a signal to our brain. Like a giant computer, our brain receives that information and evaluates it – some smells (e.g. blood, sour milk) elicit strong negative reactions, whereas others are ignored or trigger positive reactions (baking bread, grandma’s perfume). Our brains are constantly analyzing millions of bits of information at a time. Luckily we’re unaware of most of this activity.

 

Humans and other mammals have concentrated most of our senses into our head, near our brain (eyes, ears, nose, mouth). We’ve also concentrated our smell receptors into a more complicated structure, with thousands of them packed together into an olfactory system.

 

Plants (and many animals) on the other hand distribute their sensory systems more broadly. In fact, we are learning that nearly every cell in a plant is capable of perceiving information about light, chemical environment, temperature, wind etc. The receptors that perceive information about chemicals tend to be more abundant in the roots though, because root have the job of taking up nutrients from the soil. The root system constantly explores the soil environment by changing its growth direction, and when it finds a rich source of nutrients concentrates its growth in this region. Plants don’t have nerve cells, which is one of the reasons we think they have a distributed sensory system. Each cell participates in sensing its own environment, and responding appropriately. The cells do communicate with each other though, through a slower hormonal system.

 

Here's a link to an experiment that illustrates the principle of how plants “smell”. (http://my.aspb.org/resource/group/a9372bf4-9ae4-4d0b-ad0c-595c9dfc3543/12labs/09_defense.pdf

It’s written up as an experiment to look at chemicals in the soil, but particularly chemicals produced by other plants. Many plants secrete chemicals from their roots that inhibit the growth of other plants. Basically they’re trying to drive away any competition for resources. It’s a simple experiment but illustrates the principle that plants monitor their chemical environment through the same process that we do – or, if you like, that plants “smell”.

 

Hope this helps. It’s great that you are encouraging your granddaughters interest in plants and experiments! They are lucky!


Via Mary Williams
more...
Rama Ram's comment, February 2, 2012 12:17 AM
thanks ,mary!!!!
Mary Williams's comment, February 2, 2012 8:17 AM
Thanks Rama! In a month or two when I'm working on the Teaching Tool about how plants cooperate and compete with other plants I'm planning on writing a similar type of response to the question "Can plants see?". Short answer - Yes (sort of)!
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Agricultural Biodiversity
Scoop.it!

Biofortification for combating ‘hidden hunger’ for iron

Micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for so-called ‘hidden undernutrition’. In particular, iron (Fe) deficiency adversely affects growth, immune function and can cause anaemia. However, supplementation of iron can exacerbate infectious diseases and current policies of iron therapy carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of these interventions. Here we review the approaches of biofortification of valuable crops for reducing ‘hidden undernutrition’ of iron in the light of the latest nutritional and medical advances. The increase of iron and prebiotics in edible parts of plants is expected to improve health, whereas the reduction of phytic acid concentration, in crops valuable for human diet, might be less beneficial for the developed countries, or for the developing countries exposed to endemic infections.


Via Luigi Guarino
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plant Cell Biology
Scoop.it!

Faces of Plant Cell Biology: Prof Chris Hawes | Plantcellbiology.com

Faces of Plant Cell Biology: Prof Chris Hawes | Plantcellbiology.com | Plant Science | Scoop.it
For the new year I have started a new series called Faces of Plant Cell Biology. In this series I am going to post answers of plant cell biologists at all ...

Via Anne Osterrieder
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plants and Microbes
Scoop.it!

Plant Physiology: Descendants of primed Arabidopsis plants exhibit resistance to biotic stress

Plant Physiology: Descendants of primed Arabidopsis plants exhibit resistance to biotic stress | Plant Science | Scoop.it

An attack of plants by pathogens or treatment with certain resistance-inducing compounds can lead to the establishment of a unique primed state of defense. Primed plants show enhanced defense reactions upon further challenge with biotic or abiotic stress. Here, we report that the primed state in Arabidopsis thaliana is still functional in the next generation without additional treatment. We compared the reactions of Arabidopsis plants that had been either primed with β-amino-butyric acid (BABA) or with an avirulent isolate of the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (PstavrRpt2). The descendants of primed plants showed a faster and higher accumulation of transcripts of defense-related genes in the SA-signaling pathway and enhanced disease resistance upon challenge inoculation with a virulent isolate of Pseudomonas syringae (Pst). In addition, the progeny of primed plants was also more resistant against the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. When transgenerationally primed plants were subjected to an additional priming treatment, their descendants displayed an even stronger primed phenotype, suggesting that plants can inherit a sensitization for the priming phenomenon. Interestingly, this “primed to be primed” phenotype was much reduced in the Arabidopsis BABA-priming mutant ibs1. Our results demonstrate that the primed state of plants is transferred to their progeny and confers improved protection from pathogen attack as compared to the descendants of unprimed plants.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from MAIZE
Scoop.it!

Nature News: Monsanto’s transgenic drought tolerant maize approved

Nature News: Monsanto’s transgenic drought tolerant maize approved | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto has received the green light from the US Department of Agriculture to sell its transgenic drought tolerant maize (corn) MON 87460.

Via CIMMYT, Int.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ruth Bastow
Scoop.it!

Trees influence epiphyte and invertebrate communities

Trees influence epiphyte and invertebrate communities | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Scientists at Kew Gardens in London have found that trees influence epiphyte and invertebrate communities.

Studies in temperate regions have demonstrated that genetic differences between individual trees affect the ecological communities and ecosystem processes associated with them. Now scientists at Manchester University and Kew have examined the extent to which this phenomenon occurs between genetic variants of a single tree species in a diverse complex ecosystem such as a tropical forest.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ruth Bastow
Scoop.it!

Wheat's roots and leaves... a new key to food security - The University of Nottingham

Wheat's roots and leaves... a new key to food security - The University of Nottingham | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Scientists at The University of Nottingham are expanding their pioneering research into global food security thanks to new technology which allows them to see inside the leaves and roots of plants, and into the soil that feeds them.

The work is at the cutting edge of the one of the University’s research priorities; to increase the efficiency of food production to meet the needs of the steep projected rise in the human global population. Crops like wheat, rice and maize provide over half of the world’s diet which makes research into boosting production vital for future food security.

The scientists have won two major grants totaling £1.63 million in collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield and Southampton Universities. They will use high-powered X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography scanners which allow them to literally see through the soil to investigate how the roots of plants can best absorb water and nutrients, and also how photosynthesis in leaves could be improved."

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

The naming of names: new grass species honours for UK Emeritus Professor

The naming of names: new grass species honours for UK Emeritus Professor | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Professor Clive Stace, Emeritus Professor of Botany in the University of Leicester Department of Biology, has received a very special new year’s honour – not from The Queen, but in a newly published plant name. In the journal Annals of Botany, a paper on the grass Brachypodium distachyon has split the plant into three species, one of which has been christened Brachypodium stacei.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

» Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter

» Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Trees almost always grow so that the total thickness of their branches at a particular height is equal to the thickness of their trunks. Until now, no one has been able to explain why trees obey this rule, which Leonardo da Vinci first noticed.

Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Arabidopsis
Scoop.it!

Welcome to ICAR 2012 — ICAR

Welcome to ICAR 2012 — ICAR | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The 23rd International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR) will be held at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna, Austria from 3-7 July 2012. The annual conference is the largest gathering of scientists working on the model plant Arabidopsis. Over 800 participants from around the world are expected to attend the four day meeting.

 

We would like to invite all interested researchers to join us in one of Europe's most beautiful cities for this exciting event. With over 70 invited international speakers and more than 500 posters, ICAR 2012 will showcase the latest cutting-edge research.


Via GMI Vienna
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

Plant genetics and opportunities in agriculture

What role could or should plant genetics play in increasing agricultural production? Dave Baulcombe, a prominent scientist, and leading farmer debate this crucial question.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

GM potato awaits go-ahead for Europe

GM potato awaits go-ahead for Europe | Plant Science | Scoop.it

CHEMICALS giant BASF has requested European Union approval for a genetically-modified (GM) potato which can resist a common plant disease. The firm is waiting for the go-ahead on Fortuna, which researchers say is resistant to late blight, which is caused by Phytophthora infestans, a fungi-like pathogen.

The disease destroys both the leaves and the edible roots and is responsible for the loss of up to 20 per cent of the global potato harvest each year. In March last year, BASF won approval for Amflora, another GM potato for commercial cultivation. Fortuna is the first GM food plant BASF has sought to market within the European Union.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from WHEAT
Scoop.it!

UK: Wild grass to stem devastating progress of stem rust

UK: Wild grass to stem devastating progress of stem rust | Plant Science | Scoop.it
Scientists are enlisting a wild grass collected from coastal plains in Israel to protect wheat harvests from a disease that is already devastating crops from Uganda to Iran.

Via CIMMYT, Int.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ruth Bastow
Scoop.it!

UK PlantSci 2012 - The Inaugural Meeting of the UK Plant Sciences Federation. Don't miss out Register today

UK PlantSci 2012 - The Inaugural Meeting of the UK Plant Sciences Federation. Don't miss out Register today | Plant Science | Scoop.it

UK PlantSci 2012 is the inaugural conference of the UK Plant Sciences Federation and has been established to showcase the wealth of plants science undertaken in the UK.

 

We are pleased to announce Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government, will be giving the opening address at UK PlantSci 2012.

 

We hope that UK PlantSci 2012 will provide an unique arena for all those interested and working in the in plant science sector e.g. cell biologists, industrialists, physiologists, ecologists, plant breeders, soil scientists and agriculturists to come together and share their knowledge and expertise.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

The sustainability of chocolate

The sustainability of chocolate | Plant Science | Scoop.it

People eat 3 billion pounds of chocolate every year. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao plant, Theobroma cacao. But despite chocolate's popularity in the United States and Europe, the cacao plant is in trouble. This is due to current agricultural and fair trade practices, according to botanist Frank Almeda, senior curator at the California Academy of Sciences. The most common way of growing cacao is in a monoculture, like corn is grown, which makes plants much more susceptible to a plethora of diseases and pest infestations, says Dr Almeda. Making things worse, cacao farmers make less than one dollar a day, so cultivating cacao isn't even economically feasible, so farmers are abandoning their cacao plantations.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

What are the parts of a cell? Even a friendly alien could understand this!

What are the parts of a cell? Even a friendly alien could understand this! | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The Khan Academy is on a mission to provide free online educational resources for everyone, no matter if you are a student, teacher or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology”. With over 2700 videos available, they are doing very well! This blackboard-style video explains the different parts of a cell.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

First plant to use buried leaves to catch worms found

First plant to use buried leaves to catch worms found | Plant Science | Scoop.it

A sticky end awaits worms that stray too close to a scrawny-looking plant unique to Brazil. Philcoxia minensis is the first carnivorous plant discovered to trap and devour prey in the soil with the help of sticky leaves prodded below the surface.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ruth Bastow
Scoop.it!

GM could be an answer in food security debate

GM could be an answer in food security debate | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The debate around genetically modified foods being produced in the UK needs to be reopened if the issues of securing food supplies and rising costs are to be addressed.

 

Shadow DEFRA secretary Mary Creagh said food prices had increased much faster in the UK than other countries over the past 12 months and that GM needed to be looked at as one of the ways of ensuring people could afford nutritional food.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

The story of agriculture: make the global economy green

The story of agriculture: make the global economy green | Plant Science | Scoop.it

We need to make the global economy green. Agriculture provides significant opportunities for growth, investment and jobs to help make this happen. Everyone needs agriculture. Agriculture feeds our entire population and produces fibre for clothing, feed for livestock and bioenergy. Particularly in the developing world, agriculture contributes significantly to GDP growth, leads the way in poverty reduction and accounts for the lion's share of employment opportunities, especially for women. Agriculture also has one of the highest potentials for reducing carbon emissions and helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change.

 

Explore Farming First’s Infographic on the Green Economy
1 How can we feed future generations?

2 How can we reduce poverty around the world?

3 Why does agriculture matter to a green economy?

4 Where do we invest to build a green economy?

5 How can we build a more sustainable supply chain?

6 How can we manage environmental sustainability
with economic viability

(via Rodomiro Ortiz - thanks!)


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Plants and Microbes
Scoop.it!

PNAS: Legume pectate lyase required for root infection by rhizobia

PNAS: Legume pectate lyase required for root infection by rhizobia | Plant Science | Scoop.it

To allow rhizobial infection of legume roots, plant cell walls must be locally degraded for plant-made infection threads (ITs) to be formed. Here we identify a Lotus japonicus nodulation pectate lyase gene (LjNPL), which is induced in roots and root hairs by rhizobial nodulation (Nod) factors via activation of the nodulation signaling pathway and the NIN transcription factor. Two Ljnpl mutants produced uninfected nodules and most infections arrested as infection foci in root hairs or roots. The few partially infected nodules that did form contained large abnormal infections. The purified LjNPL protein had pectate lyase activity, demonstrating that this activity is required for rhizobia to penetrate the cell wall and initiate formation of plant-made infection threads. Therefore, we conclude that legume-determined degradation of plant cell walls is required for root infection during initiation of the symbiotic interaction between rhizobia and legumes.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

Enhancing photosynthesis

Enhancing photosynthesis | Plant Science | Scoop.it

In general, in many leaves, for significant periods of the day, photosynthetic activity is far below capacity. Causative factors include: closure of the stomata shutting off the supply of carbon dioxide to the leaves; reduction in the efficiency of light collection by the chloroplasts; and feedback from the accumulation of carbohydrate products of photosynthesis. The conclusion from this study is important but so far widely ignored: There is enough photosynthetic activity in the existing cellular machinery to sustain a much larger yield if only plants could be induced to perform at their full potential.

So why don’t plants perform at their full potential?


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from AnnBot
Scoop.it!

Plant Inspired Waterproofing?

Plant Inspired Waterproofing? | Plant Science | Scoop.it

Salvinia molesta, a floating Brazilian fern that has spread to the Americas and Australia, is a well-known hazard for the world’s waterways, with its growth causing massive clogs. But now researchers have found a way to put it, or at least the hairs that cover its surface, to good use. The hairs serve the plant by trapping air and helping it float on water, but engineers who have recreated the texture and suggest it could serve a waterproofing function for boats and submarines to reduce drag while boosting buoyancy and stability.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Arabidopsis
Scoop.it!

DNA fingerprinting and new tools for fine-scale discrimination of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions (Plant Journal)

DNA fingerprinting and new tools for fine-scale discrimination of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions (Plant Journal) | Plant Science | Scoop.it

One of the main strengths of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model species is the impressive number of public resources available to the scientific community. Exploring species genetic diversity — and therefore adaptation — relies on collections of individuals from natural populations collected from diverse environments. Nevertheless, due to a few mislabeling events or genotype mixtures, some variants available in stock centers have been misidentified, causing inconsistencies and limiting the potential of genetic analyses. To improve identification of natural accessions, we genotyped 1,311 seed stocks from our Versailles Arabidopsis Stock Center and from other collections to determine their molecular profiles at 341 SNP markers. These profiles were used to compare genotypes at both the intra- and inter-accession levels. We confirmed previously-described inconsistencies and revealed new ones and suggest likely identities for accessions whose lineage had been lost. We also developed two new tools: a minimal fingerprint computation to quickly verify the identity of an accession, and an optimized marker set to assist in the identification of unknown or mixed accessions. These tools are available on a dedicated web interface called ANATool (https://www.versailles.inra.fr/ijpb/crb/anatool) that provides a simple and efficient means to verify or determine the identity of A. thaliana accessions in any laboratory, without the need for any specific or expensive technology.


Via GMI Vienna
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ruth Bastow from Arabidopsis
Scoop.it!

The main auxin biosynthesis pathway in Arabidopsis (PNAS)

The main auxin biosynthesis pathway in Arabidopsis (PNAS) | Plant Science | Scoop.it

The phytohormone auxin plays critical roles in the regulation of plant growth and development. Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) has been recognized as the major auxin for more than 70 y. Although several pathways have been proposed, how auxin is synthesized in plants is still unclear. Previous genetic and enzymatic studies demonstrated that both TRYPTOPHAN AMINOTRANSFERASE OF ARABIDOPSIS (TAA) and YUCCA (YUC) flavin monooxygenase-like proteins are required for biosynthesis of IAA during plant development, but these enzymes were placed in two independent pathways. In this article, we demonstrate that the TAA family produces indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPA) and the YUC family functions in the conversion of IPA to IAA in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) by a quantification method of IPA using liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization–tandem MS. We further show that YUC protein expressed in Escherichia coli directly converts IPA to IAA. Indole-3-acetaldehyde is probably not a precursor of IAA in the IPA pathway. Our results indicate that YUC proteins catalyze a rate-limiting step of the IPA pathway, which is the main IAA biosynthesis pathway in Arabidopsis.


Via GMI Vienna
more...
No comment yet.