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Whether wheat weathers heat waves
Unlike humans, crops in a field can't move to air conditioning to endure a heat wave. Scientists in Australia are working to understand how heat waves impact wheat. (2018-06-20)

Nuclear power shutdowns won't spike power prices
Despite economic woes that could shutter two of Pennsylvania's nuclear power plants -- which generate 6 percent of the state's power -- power prices will remain steady due to low natural gas prices, according to Seth Blumsack, associate professor of energy policy and economics, Penn State. (2018-06-19)

Rewiring plant defence genes to reduce crop waste
Plants could be genetically rewired to better resist disease, helping safeguard crop yields worldwide according to new research by the universities of Warwick and York. Defensive feedback control system developed enables plants to strengthen their defenses to withstand attack by re-wiring existing gene connections The system uses same approach as aircraft autopilots use to counteract turbulence. (2018-06-18)

Blue gene regulation helps plants respond properly to light
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a process through which gene expression in plants is regulated by light. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the study found that blue light triggers a shift in which portion of a gene is ultimately expressed. (2018-06-18)

Life in the fast lane: USU ecologist says dispersal ability linked to plants' life cycles
Utah State University ecologist Noelle Beckman says seed dispersal is an essential, yet overlooked, process of plant demography, but it's difficult to empirically observe, measure and assess its full influence. (2018-06-17)

Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields
For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function -- produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets. But for Wellington Muchero, Meng Xie and their colleagues, this enzyme does more than advertised. They had run a series of experiments on poplar plants that consistently revealed mutations in a structure of the life-sustaining enzyme that was not previously known to exist. (2018-06-15)

Plants open their pores and scientists strike gold
Plants containing the element gold are already widely known. The flowering perennial plant alfafa, for example, has been cultivated by scientists to contain pure gold in its plant tissue. Now researchers from the Sun Yat-sen University in China have identified and investigated the characteristics of gold nanoparticles in two plant species growing in their natural environments. (2018-06-14)

UM study confirms that bromeliads contribute to mosquito breeding in Miami
With vector-borne diseases posing an increasing public health threat to communities in South Florida and elsewhere, a new study led by public health researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has revealed that ornamental bromeliad plants contribute to breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito--a key culprit for the Zika outbreak that hit Miami-Dade County and other areas of Florida and the Americas in 2016. Aedes aegypti was the most dominant species of mosquito in the study's test sites. (2018-06-14)

Wastewater treatment plants are key route into UK rivers for microplastics
Water samples from UK rivers contained significantly higher concentrations of microplastics downstream from wastewater treatment plants, according to one of the first studies to determine potential sources of microplastics pollution. (2018-06-11)

Antioxidants developed by MSU scientists slow down senescence in plants
A team from the Faculty of Biology, MSU tested on plants mitochondria-targeted antioxidants developed in the university lab under the guidance of Academician Vladimir Skulachev. The tests showed slowdown of senescence processes and inhibition of cell death. The study was published in the Mitochondrion journal. (2018-06-08)

Camouflaged plants use the same tricks as animals
Plants use many of the same methods as animals to camouflage themselves, a new study shows. (2018-06-06)

How plants work on the inside
Vascular tissue in plants distributes water and nutrients, thereby ensuring constant growth. Each newly developed cell needs to develop into its respective cell type in the vascular tissue. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now discovered how these cells know which cell type they should develop into. (2018-06-06)

UNH researchers shine a light on more accurate way to estimate climate change
By using satellite data from different major land-based ecosystems around the globe, researchers have found that the photosynthesis glow is the same across all vegetation, no matter the location. This first-of-its-kind global analysis could have significance in providing more accurate data for scientists working to model carbon cycle and eventually help better project climate change. (2018-06-05)

Research brief: New approach boosts effort to scale up biodiversity monitoring
The value of ecological biodiversity for maintaining ecosystem stability and function is well established, but a recent study points to a novel way to fine-tune our ability to measure it at larger scales. (2018-06-01)

Scientists boost crop production by 47 percent by speeding up photorespiration
Increasing production of a common, naturally occurring protein in plant leaves could boost the yields of major food crops by almost 50 percent, according to a new study led by scientists at the University of Essex published today in Plant Biotechnology Journal. (2018-05-31)

Ancient tooth shows Mesolithic ancestors were fish and plant eaters
Analysis of the skeletal remains of a Mesolithic man found in a cave on a Croatian island has revealed microscopic fish and plant remains in the dental plaque of a tooth -- a first-time discovery for the period and region. (2018-05-31)

Hormesis and paradoxical effects in plants upon exposure to formaldehyde are common phenomena
For the first time, hormesis and paradoxical effects have been shown to occur commonly in plants upon exposure to formaldehyde, which is a widespread pollutant. To assess the level of chemical pollution of the environment, different indicators of plant status are widely used as bioindicators, since plants have an attached lifestyle and are unable to avoid exposure to unfavorable factors. (2018-05-29)

The stick insects that survive being eaten by birds
It's commonly assumed that when insects are eaten by birds, they and their unborn young have no chance of survival. However, a team of Japanese researchers hypothesized that the eggs within insect bodies can pass through birds undigested. They tested this hypothesis with stick insects, known for their hard eggs, and found that some eggs are excreted unharmed and successfully hatch. Stick insects cannot travel very far by themselves, so being eaten by birds could even contribute to expanding their habitat. (2018-05-28)

89% of the Moscow University Herbarium have been digitised in the last three years
A senior researcher of the Moscow University Herbarium published in Taxon journal the results of his work on the Moscow University Digital Herbarium. Working within the framework of the Noah's Ark project in the last three years, the scientist managed the data mining for the largest biodiversity database in Russia devoted to plants from different regions of the world. (2018-05-25)

When the dinosaurs died, so did forests -- and tree-dwelling birds
Sixty-six million years ago, the world burned. An asteroid crashed to Earth with a force one million times larger than the largest atomic bomb, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But dinosaurs weren't the only ones that got hit hard -- in a new study, scientists learned that the planet's forests were decimated, leading to the extinction of tree-dwelling birds. (2018-05-24)

Determining effective methods of irrigation as water becomes increasingly scarce
US consumers prefer the idea of using fresh water for any watering needs. In most cases, plants irrigated with recycled water saw no negative impact when compared to the same types of plants irrigated with pure, non-recycled water. (2018-05-23)

How Australia got planted
A new study has uncovered when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. The research should help researchers better predict the likely impact of climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels on such plants here and elsewhere. (2018-05-22)

Closing coal, oil power plants leads to healthier babies
While the negative health impacts of pollution from coal- and oil-burning power plants are well-documented, UC Berkeley researchers tested the flip side: do birth outcomes improve following power plant shutdowns. They reviewed state data on preterm births and fertility around eight plants before and after they were retired in California and found 20-25 percent drops in preterm birthrates and an increase in fertility. This provides an argument for replacing such plants with renewable energy sources. (2018-05-22)

Children understand plant-animal interdependence by the age of eight
When do children start to become aware of the relationship between animal and plant life? According to a study by the UPV/EHU, they begin to associate animals and plants with each other spontaneously in their drawings by the age of eight. The UPV/EHU researchers José Domingo Villarroel, Álvaro Antón, Teresa Nuño and Daniel Zuazagoitia are the authors of this work, published in the scientific journal Sustainability. (2018-05-21)

Research suggests sweet potatoes didn't originate in the Americas as previously thought
Sweet potatoes may seem as American as Thanksgiving, but scientists have long debated whether their plant family originated in the Old or New World. New research by an Indiana University paleobotanist suggests it originated in Asia, and much earlier than previously known. (2018-05-21)

Explaining the history of Australia's vegetation
University of Adelaide-led research has uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. (2018-05-17)

Limiting warming to 1.5 degree C would save majority of global species from climate change
New research finds that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C would save the majority of the world's plant and animal species from climate change. Species across the globe would benefit -- particularly those in Southern Africa, the Amazon, Europe and Australia. Examples of animals to benefit include the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Reducing the risk to insects is important because they are vital for 'ecosystem services' such as pollinating crops and being part of the food chain. (2018-05-17)

Battling bubbles: How plants protect themselves from killer fungus
In the battle between plants and pathogens, molecules called small RNAs are coveted weapons used by both invaders and defenders. In a paper publishing Thursday (May 17) in the journal Science, researchers at the University of California, Riverside report how plants package and deliver the sRNAs they use to fight back against plant pathogens. The study focused on Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that causes a grey mold disease in strawberries, tomatoes, and almost all fruits, vegetables, and many flowers. (2018-05-17)

High stakes for biodiversity, depending on which climate change target we reach
A new assessment finds that, by 2100, the number of plant and vertebrate species losing more than half of their natural ranges will double if global warming is limited to 2°Celsius (C), rather than 1.5°C; insects are projected to be impacted the most, with 18 percent losing over half of their natural ranges under the warmer scenario. (2018-05-17)

Scientists' new way to identify microscopic worm attacking coffee crops
The plants which produce one of the most popular drinks in the world, coffee, are targeted by a microscopic worm, but scientists are fighting back. An underestimated problem in coffee farming, the parasite has been found in soil samples across the coffee growing world thanks to a new and quick detection method. (2018-05-16)

Hydrogen peroxide assists sexual reproduction in spruce
Plant physiologists from MSU proved for the first time that dangerous reactive oxygen species that are often considered as by-products of energy generation in cells, are required by the conifers to fertilize the egg cell. Experiments with pollen of blue spruce (Picea pungens) helped to find a protein that makes the whole system work. The scientists believe that the obtained data will lead to the optimization of conifer forests restoration. (2018-05-16)

Less water, same Texas cotton
In Texas, the Southern High Plains uses water from an aquifer to water cotton fields. However, the aquifer is running low. Scientists from the area are working to find the best irrigation method for cotton that uses the least water. (2018-05-16)

Plant peptide spells relief from salty stress
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a hormone-like peptide in plants that helps increase their tolerance to excessive salt. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the study found several genes that can increase salinity tolerance, the most effective being a small gene that codes for the peptide AT13. (2018-05-14)

Invisible structures exposed!
Scientists at Osaka University succeeded in reconstruction of plant branch structures, including the branch structures under leaves, by using image analysis and artificial intelligence technology, a world first. (2018-05-07)

Genetics help make a weed a weed
New University of British Columbia research finds that the success of weedy and invasive plants like the Jerusalem artichoke lies in their genes. (2018-05-07)

Understanding how DNA is selectively tagged with 'do not use' marks
Salk scientists identify proteins that target specific DNA regions to keep genetic material under control. (2018-05-07)

Stomata -- the plant pores that give us life -- arise thanks to a gene called MUTE
New research in plants shows that a gene called MUTE is required for the formation of stomata -- the tiny pores that a critical for gas exchange, including releasing the oxygen gas that we breathe. (2018-05-07)

Greenhouse gas 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes
Latest research finds plant debris in lake sediment affects methane emissions. The flourishing reed beds created by changing climates could threaten to double the already significant methane production of the world's northern lakes. (2018-05-04)

Plant relationships breakdown when they meet new 'fungi'
Gijsbert Werner, Postdoctoral Fellow and Stuart West, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, both in the Oxford University Department of Zoology, explain the process of plant cooperation, in relation to their new study published in PNAS, which has shed light on why cooperative relationships breakdown. (2018-05-03)

Electrical signals in plants affect photosynthetic activity
Plants are constantly exposed to various stressors, including drought, fluctuations in temperature and light intensity, attacks by insects, etc. Since plants have an attached lifestyle, the only way to survive the impact of the stress factor is to quickly adapt their metabolism to the changing conditions. In the case when stressors (for example, strong light or mechanical damage) only act on certain parts of the plant organism, special stress signals propagate in the plant. (2018-05-03)

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