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Scientists transform tobacco info factory for high-value proteins

For thousands of years, plants have produced food for humans, but with genetic tweaks, they can also manufacture proteins like Ebola vaccines, antibodies to combat a range of conditions, and now, cellulase that is used in food processing and to break down crop waste to create biofuel. In Nature Plants, a team from Cornell University and the University of Illinois announced that crops can cheaply manufacture proteins inside their cellular power plants called chloroplasts—allowing the crops to be grown widely in fields rather than restrictive greenhouses—with no cost to yield.


Climate change could affect symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and trees

Some fungi and bacteria live in close association, or symbiosis, with tree roots in forest soil to obtain mutual benefits. The microorganisms help trees access water and nutrients from the atmosphere or soil, sequester carbon, and withstand the effects of climate change. In exchange, they receive carbohydrates, which are essential to their development and are produced by the trees during photosynthesis.


Aggressive, non-native wetland plants squelch species richness more than dominant natives do

Dominant, non-native plants reduce wetland biodiversity and abundance more than native plants do, researchers report in the journal Ecology Letters. Even native plants that dominate wetland landscapes play better with others, the team found.


South African forests show pathways to a sustainable future

Native forests make up 1% of the landscape in South Africa but could play a key role in reducing atmospheric carbon and identifying sustainable development practices that can be used globally to counter climate change, according to a Penn State researcher.


Unearthing the sweet potato proteome

The sweet, starchy orange sweet potatoes are tasty and nutritious ingredients for fries, casseroles and pies. Although humans have been cultivating sweet potatoes for thousands of years, scientists still don’t know much about the protein makeup of these tubers. In ACS’Journal of Proteome Research, researchers have analyzed the proteome of sweet potato leaves and roots, and in the process, have revealed new insights into the plant’s genome.


Directed evolution comes to plants

Accelerating plant evolution with CRISPR paves the way for breeders to engineer new crop varieties.


Unexpected culprit – wetlands as source of methane

Wetlands are an important part of the Earth’s natural water management system. The complex system of plants, soil, and aquatic life serves as a reservoir that captures and cleans water. However, as cities have expanded, many wetlands were drained for construction. In addition, many areas of land in the Midwest were drained to increase uses for agriculture to feed a growing world.


Cell structure linked to longevity of slow-growing ponderosa pines

Slow-growing ponderosa pines may have a better chance of surviving longer than fast-growing ones, especially as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of drought, according to new research from the University of Montana.


Assessing the greenhouse gas impact of forest management activities in EU countries

On 18 June 2019, the Commission published its assessment of Member States' draft plans to implement the EU's Energy Union objectives, in particular the agreed EU 2030 energy and climate targets, as well as technical recommendations on Member States' National Forestry Accounting Plans.


Wheat myth comes a cropper

The myth that modern wheat varieties are more heavily reliant on pesticides and fertilisers than older varieties has been debunked by new research.


Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of wine making

A grape variety, still used in wine production in France today, can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered.


Superweed resists another class of herbicides

We’ve all heard about bacteria that are becoming resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. These are the so-called superbugs perplexing and panicking medical science. The plant analogue may just be waterhemp, a broadleaf weed common to corn and soybean fields across the Midwest. With resistance to multiple common herbicides, waterhemp is getting much harder to kill.


Can a Hands-on Model Help Forest Stakeholders Fight Tree Disease?

When a new, more aggressive strain of the pathogen that causes sudden oak death turned up in Oregon, scientists and stakeholders banded together to try to protect susceptible trees and the region’s valuable timber industry.


Study reports breakthrough to measure plant improvements to help farmers boost production

An international team is using advanced tools to develop crops that give farmers more options for sustainably producing more food on less land. To do this, thousands of plant prototypes must be carefully analyzed to figure out which genetic tweaks work best. In a special issue of the journal Remote Sensing of Environment, scientists have shown a new technology can more quickly scan an entire field of plants to capture improvements in their natural capacity to harvest energy from the sun.


How plants are working hard for the planet

As the planet warms, plants are working to slow the effect of human-caused climate change – and research published in Trends in Plant Science has assessed how plants are responding to increasing carbon dioxide (CO2).


A global map to understand changing forests

An international collaboration of hundreds of scientists - led in part by the Forest Advanced Computing and Artificial Intelligence (FACAI) Laboratory in Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources - has developed the world’s first global map of tree symbioses. The map is key to understanding how forests are changing and the role climate plays in these shifts.


Amount of carbon stored in forests reduced as climate warms

Accelerated tree growth caused by a warming climate does not necessarily translate into enhanced carbon storage, an international study suggests.


Rice blast fungus study sheds new light on virulence mechanisms of plant pathogenic fungi

Rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae) is a global food security threat due to its destruction of cultivated rice, the most widely consumed staple food in the world. Disease containment efforts using traditional breeding or chemical approaches have been unsuccessful as the fungus can rapidly adapt and mutate to develop resistance. Because of this, it is necessary to understand fungal infection-related development to formulate new, effective methods of blast control.


Rare crops crucial to protect Europe’s food supply, boost health

Rye bread or porridge oats may not be everyone’s first choice of breakfast, but scientists say Europeans need to broaden their taste in cereals both to boost their own health and to protect the future of Europe’s farming.


New research accurately predicts Australian wheat yield months before harvest

Topping the list of Australia’s major crops, wheat is grown on more than half the country’s cropland and is a key export commodity. With so much riding on wheat, accurate yield forecasting is necessary to predict regional and global food security and commodity markets. A new study published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology shows machine-learning methods can accurately predict wheat yield for the country two months before the crop matures.


Scientists Create New Genomic Resource for Improving Tomatoes

Tomato breeders have traditionally emphasized traits that improve production, like larger fruits and more fruits per plant. As a result, some traits that improved other important qualities, such as flavor and disease resistance, were lost.


A late-night disco in the forest re­veals tree per­form­ance

A group of researchers from the University of Helsinki has found a groundbreaking new method to facilitate the observation of photosynthetic dynamics in vegetation. This finding brings us one step closer to remote sensing of terrestrial carbon sinks and vegetation health.


New research shows community forest management reduces both deforestation and poverty

Giving local communities in Nepal the opportunity to manage their forests has simultaneously reduced deforestation and poverty in the region, new research has shown.


Dehesa health starts from the ground up

University of Cordoba research analyzes how changes in the structure of soil microbiota affect holm oak decline


Plants and the art of microbial maintenance

It’s been known for centuries that plants produce a diverse array of medically-valuable chemicals in their roots.


Location is everything for plant cell differentiation

While the fate of most human cells is determined by their lineage—for example, renal stem cells go on to form the kidney while cardiac progenitor cells form the heart—plant cells are a little more flexible. Research shows that although they undergo orderly division during growth, the fate of plant cells is often determined by their location in the growing plant rather than how they started out. Intriguingly, this suggests that plant cells recognize where they are and can alter gene activity in response to their location.


Essential tool for precision farming: new method for photochemical reflectance index measurement

Scientists at Lobachevsky University have proved the possibility of using yellow-green light pulses to measure the photochemical reflectance index and to estimate the amount of light stress in agricultural plants


Seed Abortion and the Role of RNA Pol IV in Seed Development

Abortion of seeds with extra genomes is caused by the enzyme RNA Pol IV


Climate extremes explain 18%-43% of global crop yield variations

Researchers from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the US have quantified the effect of climate extremes, such as droughts or heatwaves, on the yield variability of staple crops around the world.


The hunger gaps: how flowering times affect farmland bees

For the very first time, researchers from the University of Bristol have measured farmland nectar supplies throughout the whole year and revealed hungry gaps when food supply is not meeting pollinator demand. This novel finding reveals new ways of making farmland better for pollinators, benefitting the many crop plants and wildflowers that depend on them.