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New Molecular Blueprint Advances Our Understanding of Photosynthesis

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have used one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to reveal the structure of a large protein complex crucial to photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into cellular energy.


A billion years of coexistence between plants and fungi

What can a billion years of coexistence tell us about the evolution of plants and fungi?


A small number of crops are dominating globally. And that’s bad news for sustainable agriculture

A new University of Toronto study suggests that globally we're growing more of the same kinds of crops, and this presents major challenges for agricultural sustainability on a global scale.


How plants cope with iron deficiency

Iron is an essential nutrient for plants, animals and also for humans. It is needed for a diverse range of metabolic processes, for example for photosynthesis and for respiration. If a person is lacking iron, this leads to a major negative impact on health. Millions of people around the globe suffer from iron deficiency each year. Iron enters the human food chain through plants, either directly or indirectly. Although there are large quantities of iron in the soil in principle, plants may become iron-deficient because of the specific composition of the soil. Additionally, a plant's iron requirements vary throughout its development depending on external circumstances.


Biotechnology to the rescue of Brussels sprouts

An international team has identified the genes that make these plants resistant to the pathogen that attacks crops belonging to the cabbage family all over the world.


Harvesting wild genes gives crops renewed resistance to disease

A new method to take genetic material from wild plants to boost the disease resistance of food crops is the outcome of an international collaboration.


Cassava High In Iron and Zinc Could Improve Diets and Health In West Africa

The “hidden hunger” caused by micronutrient deficiency is a global threat to human health, with particularly severe impacts in Africa. In Nigeria, 75 percent of preschool children and 67 percent of pregnant women are anemic, and 20 percent of children below five years suffer from zinc deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia affects the immune system, stunts growth and impairs cognitive development in children, while deficiency in zinc causes increased risk of death from diarrhea, stunting and reduced cognitive development. Developing new varieties of a staple food crop with elevated levels of these two minerals could significantly improve diets and health.


Plants can smell, now researchers know how: First steps to understanding biochemistry of how plants detect odors

Plants don't need noses to smell. The ability is in their genes. Researchers have discovered the first steps of how information from odor molecules changes gene expression in plants. Manipulating plants' odor detection systems may lead to new ways of influencing plant behavior.


Leaf age determines the division of labor in plant stress responses

A new study from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research published in the journal PNAS shows that the crosstalk between plant responses to physical and biological stresses varies between young and old leaves to enable optimal plant performance when the two kinds of stress are encountered simultaneously.


In New Phytologist: EU’s opposition to modern crop breeding could harm trade

New research has found that the European Union’s opposition to modern crop breeding is at odds with the majority of other countries around the world and could jeopardise international trade.


Dual control: Plant peptide hormone generates distinct cell structures for water flow

Researchers have found that a peptide hormone regulates two different cell division processes that generate centrally important structures for the flow of water through plants.


A Boost for Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a fundamental biological process which allows plants to use light energy for their growth. Most life forms on Earth are directly or indirectly dependent on photosynthesis. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany have collaborated with colleagues from the Australian National University to study the formation of carboxysomes – a structure that increases the efficiency of photosynthesis in aquatic bacteria. Their results, which were now published in Nature, could lead to the engineering of plants with more efficient photosynthesis and thus higher crop yields.


Forest soils need decades to recover from fires and logging

A landmark study from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that forest soils need several decades to recover from bushfires and logging - much longer than previously thought.


Climate Change Tipping Point Could Be Coming Sooner than We Think

Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018, rising by an estimated 3.4 percent in the U.S. alone. This trend is making scientists, government officials, and industry leaders more anxious than ever about the future of our planet. As United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference on December 3, “We are in deep trouble with climate change.”


Rising temperatures may safeguard crop nutrition as climate changes

Recent research has shown that rising carbon dioxide levels will likely boost yields, but at the cost of nutrition. A new study in The Plant Journal from the University of Illinois, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center suggests that this is an incomplete picture of the complex environmental interactions that will affect crops in the future—and rising temperatures may actually benefit nutrition but at the expense of lower yields.


Plants Blink: Proceeding with Caution in Sunlight

Like eye’s adjustment to sudden changes in light, plants have sensitive mechanisms to protect their leaves from rapid changes in radiation


Bifacial Stem Cells Produce Wood and Bast

So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth – the formation of wood. By alternately developing into wood and bast cells, these stem cells are thus starting points for forming wood as well as generating plant bast fibres. A team of researchers under the direction of Dr Thomas Greb, a Heisenberg Professor at Heidelberg University, were recently able to demonstrate this phenomenon using new experimental tools. The scientists from the Centre for Organismal Studies labelled and studied specific types of cells in the growth layer of plants, the cambium.


New technologies enable better-than-ever details on genetically modified plants

Salk researchers have mapped the genomes and epigenomes of genetically modified plant lines with the highest resolution ever to reveal exactly what happens at a molecular level when a piece of foreign DNA is inserted. Their findings, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, elucidate the routine methods used to modify plants, and offer new ways to more effectively minimize potential off-target effects.


Natural habitats, bee diversity key to better apple production

A Cornell-led study, published in the journal Science, shows that apple orchards surrounded by agricultural lands are visited by a less diverse collection of bee species than orchards surrounded by natural habitats.


UK Plant scientists and MPs come together for Growing the Future report launch

The Royal Society of Biology released a new report about opportunities arising in plant sciences.


Individual lichens can have up to three fungi, study shows

Individual lichens may contain up to three different fungi, according to new research from an international team of researchers. This evidence provides new insight into another recent discovery that showed lichen are made up of more than a single fungus and alga, overturning the prevailing theory of more than 150 years.


Unraveling of 58-year-old corn gene mystery may have plant-breeding implications

In discovering a mutant gene that "turns on" another gene responsible for the red pigments sometimes seen in corn, researchers solved an almost six-decades-old mystery with a finding that may have implications for plant breeding in the future.


An Entire Botanical Garden, 760 plant specimens, of Genomes

Researchers in China provide genome sequence data and species identification for 760 plant specimens from Ruili Botanical Garden, South-West China.


Plant peptide helps roots to branch out in the right places

How do plants space out their roots? A Japanese research team has identified a peptide and its receptor that help lateral roots to grow with the right spacing. The findings were published in the online edition of Developmental Cell.


Blueprint for plant immune response found, unlocking potential for increased disease resistance in crops

Washington State University researchers have discovered the way plants respond to disease-causing organisms, and how they protect themselves, leading the way to potential breakthroughs in breeding resistance to diseases or pests.


Scientists have discovered an unusual new light sensor in green algae

Scientists at the Universities of Würzburg and Bielefeld/) in Germany have discovered an unusual new light sensor in green algae. The sensor triggers a reaction that is similar to one in the human eye.


Tomato plant aroma to protect crops

Tomato plants emit an aroma in order to resist bacterial attacks. This aroma– volatile compound –is named hexenyl butyrate (HB) and, according to the test done by researchers at the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, a joint center of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, in Spanish), has great potential for protecting crops from infections, drought, etc. The finding has been published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.


Scientists identify how plants sense temperature

When it gets hot outside, humans and animals have the luxury of seeking shelter in the shade or cool, air-conditioned buildings. But plants are stuck.


Scientists have found that trees change their anatomy in response to prolonged drought

JCU’s Associate Professor Susan Laurance has led the Daintree Drought experiment since 2015, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and Imperial College in the UK.


Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why

A confounding new disease is killing beech trees in Ohio and elsewhere, and plant scientists are sounding an alarm while looking for an explanation.