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Current Plant Knowledge News and Events, Plant Knowledge News Articles.
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The pressure sensor of the venus flytrap
The display of a smartphone reacts to finger pressure. The carnivorous Venus flytrap, on the other hand, even notices when a lightweight like a fly lands on it. Special genes make this possible. (2020-12-11)

Carbon fertilization effects are declining worldwide, limiting their role in climate change mitigation
The widely observed carbon fertilization effects on plant photosynthesis worldwide are declining, researchers report in a new study. (2020-12-10)

Nutrigenomics: new frontiers
Plant omics and food engineering offer novel perspectives and value to sustainable agriculture and ecological sciences (2020-12-10)

Microbes and plants: A dynamic duo
The unique partnership between root-dwelling microbes and the plants they inhabit can reduce drought stress. (2020-12-09)

Tomatoes offer affordable source of Parkinson's disease drug
Scientists have produced a tomato enriched in the Parkinson's disease drug L-DOPA in what could become a new, affordable source of one of the world's essential medicines. (2020-12-09)

Science paper links root endodermis and microbiota in mineral balance
Valéria Custódio, ITQB NOVA PhD Student and GREEN-IT member, is a co-author of the paper, which offers new insight on the importance of the relationship between microbiota and root endodermis. (2020-12-09)

New cost-effective technique facilitates study of non-bacterial plant microbiomes
Thanks to a new technique developed by plant pathologists in Connecticut, scientists now have access to an affordable and effective tool to facilitate the study of the entire non-bacterial microbiomes of any plant species. (2020-12-08)

New definition of sustainability overcomes flaw hampering global transformation efforts
An interdisciplinary team led by Senior Researcher Dr. Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Project, RIHN) has revealed a new definition of sustainability that expands the concept to non-human species and their needs. The new definition, published in Global Sustainability, addresses a critical flaw in the original concept of sustainability that was hindering global transformation efforts. Examples from landscape planning and the Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative (HUMI) suggest the new multispecies sustainability concept will have wide-ranging applications. (2020-12-08)

Molecular mechanism of plant immune receptors discovered
Research team from the University of Cologne and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) explore the activation of plant immune receptors by pathogens / similar function of immune receptors in plants and animals. (2020-12-07)

'Big data' enables first census of desert shrub
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin leveraged computer algorithms and high-resolution survey data to conduct the first-ever creosote census - counting every creosote in a 135-square-mile conservation site in Nevada's Mojave Desert. The researchers discovered important new information about the plant species, but they also demonstrate how data techniques can improve on conventional methods for studying plant communities. (2020-12-07)

Study finds large-scale expansion of stem rust resistance gene in barley and oat lineages
Stem rust is one of the most devastating fungal diseases of wheat and historically has caused dramatic, widespread crop failures resulting in significant yield losses around the world. Stem rust epidemics in major wheat growing areas could cause a major threat to global food security. Scientists have identified a resistance gene, Sr22, as one of the few characterized genes that protects against a large array of stem rust races. (2020-12-07)

Measurements of tree height can help cycad conservation decisions
A multi-national research team has exploited long-term data sets that span 2001 to 2018 to reveal the utility of tree height quantifications in informing conservation decisions of an arborescent cycad species. The field work was led by the University of Guam and targeted Cycas micronesica from the Micronesian Islands of Guam, Tinian, and Yap as the model species. (2020-12-07)

New study debunks blood type diet
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine -- a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors -- debunks the 'blood type diet' by finding that blood type was not associated with the effects of a plant-based diet on body weight, body fat, plasma lipid concentrations, or glycemic control. (2020-12-04)

New theory of root competition reveals rules governing growth
In the presence of competitors, plants overproduce roots to snatch up nearby resources but avoid foraging for nutrients near their neighbors, according to a new study, which provides a new theoretical foundation for understanding the rules that govern competitive root behavior. (2020-12-03)

How plants compete for underground real estate affects climate change and food production
How do plant roots store carbon? Princeton researchers found that the energy a plant devotes to its roots depends on proximity to other plants: when close together, plants heavily invest in their root systems to compete for finite underground resources; if far apart, they invest less. As about a third of the world's vegetation biomass (and carbon) is belowground, this model provides a valuable tool to predict root proliferation in global earth-system models. (2020-12-03)

A plant immune receptor: It takes four to tango
A collaborative study on a plant intracellular immune receptor from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) not only shows how an important resistance protein is activated during pathogen infection but also reveals some common operational principles with immunity proteins from humans. (2020-12-03)

Discovery of plant amyloids could help create varieties with improved seed quality
A research team, which included scientists from St Petersburg University, has shown for the first time that special amyloid fibrils are found in plants. These fibrils are responsible for the 'conservation' of nutrients in plant seeds. (2020-12-02)

Plant-inspired alkaloids protect rice, kiwi and citrus from harmful bacteria
Plants get bacterial infections, just as humans do. When food crops and trees are infected, their yield and quality can suffer. Although some compounds have been developed to protect plants, few of them work on a wide variety of crops, and bacteria are developing resistance. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have modified natural plant alkaloids into new compounds that kill bacteria responsible for diseases in rice, kiwi and citrus. (2020-12-02)

Chemical memory in plants affects chances of offspring survival
Researchers at the University of Warwick have uncovered the mechanism that allows plants to pass on their 'memories' to offspring, which results in growth and developmental defects. (2020-12-01)

Plants on aspirin
For centuries humans were using willow barks to treat a headache or an inflamed tooth. Later, the active ingredient, the plant hormone salicylic acid, was used to develop painkillers like Aspirin. But what happens, if plants are treated with these painkillers? By doing so, Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria discovered an unexpected bioactivity of human pharmaceuticals in plants. The scientists published their study in the journal Cell Reports. (2020-12-01)

After 100 years, Cornell University plant pathologists revisit fire blight hypothesis
Historically credited as being the first bacterium ever characterized as a plant pathogen, fire blight is a bacterial disease that leads to significant losses of pear and apple. The role of insects in the spread of this disease has been long studied. In a new study, plant pathologists based at Cornell University and Cornell AgriTech take a hypothesis that has been more or less ignored for 100 years and provided support for its validity. (2020-12-01)

Chemical compounds in foods can inhibit a key SARS-CoV-2 enzyme
Chemical compounds in foods or beverages like green tea, muscadine grapes and dark chocolate can bind to and block the function of a particular enzyme, or protease, in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study by plant biologists at North Carolina State University. (2020-11-30)

Plant-based diet ramps up metabolism, according to new study
A plant-based diet boosts after-meal burn, leads to weight loss, and improves cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight individuals, according to a new randomized control trial published in JAMA Network Open by researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (2020-11-30)

German researchers compile world's largest inventory of known plant species
Researchers at Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have compiled the world's most comprehensive list of known plant species. It contains 1,315,562 names of vascular plants, thus extending the number by some 70,000 - equivalent to about 20%. The researchers have also succeeded in clarifying 181,000 hitherto unclear species names. The data set has now been published in Scientific Data. This marks the culmination of ten years of intensive research work. (2020-11-26)

In fire-prone West, plants need their pollinators -- and vice versa
A new study grounded in the northern Rockies explores the role of wildfire in the finely tuned dance between plants and their pollinators. Previous studies have looked at how fire affects plants, or how fire affects animals. But what is largely understudied is the question of how fire affects both, and about how linkages within those ecological networks might respond to fire disturbance. The findings are particularly significant in light of recent reports about the rapid and widespread decline of insects globally. (2020-11-25)

New wheat and barley genomes will help feed the world
An international research collaboration, including scientists from the University of Adelaide's Waite Research Institute, has unlocked new genetic variation in wheat and barley - a major boost for the global effort in breeding higher-yielding wheat and barley varieties. (2020-11-25)

Wheat diversity due to cross-hybridization with wild grasses
Bread wheat can grow in highly diverse regional environments. An important reason for its great genetic variety is the cross-hybridization with many chromosome fragments from wild grasses. This is shown by the genome sequences of 10 wheat varieties from four continents, which an international consortium including researchers from the University of Zurich has now decoded. (2020-11-25)

Researchers reveal switch used in plant defense against animal attack
UC San Diego researchers have identified the first key biological switch that sounds an alarm in plants when plant-eating animals attack. The mechanism will help unlock a trove of new strategies for improved plant health, from countering crop pest damage to engineering more robust global food webs. (2020-11-24)

Can we harness a plant's ability to synthesize medicinal compounds?
Anthraquinones are a class of naturally occurring compounds prized for their medicinal properties, as well as for other applications, including ecologically friendly dyes. Despite wide interest, the mechanism by which plants produce them has remained shrouded in mystery until now. New work reveals a gene responsible for anthraquinone synthesis in plants. Their findings could help scientists cultivate a plant-based mechanism for harvesting these useful compounds in bulk quantities. (2020-11-24)

Making sense of a universe of corn genetics
A new study details the latest efforts to predict traits in corn based on genomics and data analytics. The data management technique could help to ''turbo charge'' the seemingly endless amount of genetic stocks contained in the world's seed banks, leading to faster and more efficient development of new crop varieties. (2020-11-23)

Researchers identify genetics behind deadly oat blight
A multi-institution team co-led by a Cornell University researcher has identified the genetic mechanisms that enable the production of a deadly toxin called Victorin - the causal agent for Victoria blight of oats, a disease that wiped out oat crops in the U.S. in the 1940s. (2020-11-23)

To evade humans, this medicinal plant has evolved to hide in plain sight
Researchers reporting November 20, 2020 in the journal Current Biology have found that, in places where the herb is harvested more, the plant has evolved to blend in better with the background, making them harder for people to find. As a result, the plant varies in color from brown or grey to green, depending on whether it lives in a place that is frequented by human collectors or not. (2020-11-23)

Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth
Scientists have revealed that plants have a 'sealing' mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth. (2020-11-20)

Plant evolves to become less visible to humans
A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has evolved to become less visible to humans, new research shows. (2020-11-20)

Report: In retrospect, the burning of wood in district heating plants has resulted in climate saving
A new report from the University of Copenhagen shows that the burning of wood is significantly more climate friendly than coal and slightly more climate friendly than natural gas over the long run. For the first time, researchers quantified what the conversion of 10 Danish cogeneration plants from coal or natural gas to biomass has meant for their greenhouse gas emissions. (2020-11-17)

Newly discovered enzyme helps make valuable bioactive saponins
A team led by researchers from Osaka University discovered a new enzyme, closely related to the CSyGT family of enzymes involved in producing cellulose in plant cell walls. Unexpectedly, they found the new enzyme is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of saponins, bioactive products with high-value applications in medicine and the food industry. The new enzyme opens up novel routes for commercial production of these valuable compounds in microbial cells. (2020-11-16)

Scientific journal launches new series on the biology of invasive plants
The journal Invasive Plant Science and Management (IPSM) announced the launch of a new series focused on the biology and ecology of invasive plants. (2020-11-16)

Review of plants' role in antibacterial activity clears new paths for drug discovery
Chemical Reviews published the work by researchers at Emory University, which includes 459 plant natural products that met rigorous criteria for demonstrating antibacterial activity. The review is also deposited on the Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge (SPARK), sponsored by Pew Charitable Trusts. (2020-11-11)

Climate-adapted plant breeding
Securing plant production is a global task. Using a combination of new molecular and statistical methods, a research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to show that material from gene banks can be used to improve traits in the maize plant. Old varieties can thus help to breed new varieties adapted to current and future climates. (2020-11-11)

Researchers discover the secret of how moss spreads
University of Copenhagen researchers have discovered how mosses became one of our planet's most widely distributed plants -- global wind systems transport them along Earth's latitudes, to rooftops, sidewalks and lawns worldwide, and as far away as Antarctica. This new knowledge can provide us with a better understanding of how other small organisms are spread, including airborne bacteria and organisms that produce airborne spores. (2020-11-10)

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