Plant Science

How do plants balance microbial friends and foes?​​

By | News, Plant Health, Plant Science

​Plants are constantly exposed to microbes: pathogens that cause disease, commensals that cause no harm or benefit, and mutualists that promote plant growth or help fend off pathogens. For example, most land plants can form positive relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to improve nutrient uptake. How plants fight off pathogens without also killing beneficial microbes or wasting energy on commensal microbes is a largely unanswered question.

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How do plants hedge their bets?

By | News, Plant Science

In some environments there is no way for a seed to know for sure when the best time to germinate is.

In spring, cues like light, temperature and water may suggest to seeds that conditions are optimal for germination, but a week later an unpredictable drought or frost could kill the emerging seedlings.

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Scientists identify protein that activates plant response to nitrogen deficiency

By | Agriculture, News, Plant Science

Nitrates are critical for the growth of plants, so plants have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to ensure sufficient nitrate uptake from their environments. In a new study, researchers have identified a plant enzyme that is key to activating a nitrate uptake mechanism in response to nitrogen starvation. This finding explains how plants meet their needs in challenging environments, opening doors to improving agriculture in such environments.

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