Depth of perception
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Minuscule tunnels through the cell membrane help cells to perceive and respond to mechanical forces, such as pressure or touch. A new study directly investigates what PIEZO channels are doing in the tip-growing cells in moss and pollen tubes of flowering plants, and how.
In a paper published July 28 in the journal Current Biology, researchers have shown that feeding bumble bees caffeine helps them better remember the smell of a specific flower with nectar inside. While previous studies have shown that bees like caffeine and will more frequently visit caffeinated flowers to get it, this is the first study to show that consuming caffeine in their nest actually helps bees find certain flowers outside of the nest.
An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the University of Åarhus in Denmark have discovered that bacteria from the plant microbiota are adapted to their host species. In a newly published study, they show how root-associated bacteria have a competitive advantage when colonizing their native host, which allows them to invade an already established microbiota.
Even in the absence of bark beetle outbreaks and wildfire, trees in Colorado subalpine forests are dying at increasing rates from warmer and drier summer conditions, found recent University of Colorado Boulder research.
Scientists around the world are collaborating on a project that is changing the way they trace the evolutionary history of flowering plants. By using new technology allowing them to rapidly retrieve and compare DNA sequences from among any of the 300,000 species of flowering plants, scientists are unraveling the 140-million-year history of the largest group of land plants on Earth and providing a framework to protect vulnerable species and populations into the future.
A genetic analysis of fruit in the mandarin family has unraveled a complex journey from the mountainous region of southern China to the markets of Okinawa, says researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University.
Scientists have created plants whose cells and tissues 'blush' with beetroot pigments when they are colonised by fungi that help them take up nutrients from the soil. This is the first time this vital, 400 million year old process has been visualised in real time in full root systems of living plants. Understanding the dynamics of plant colonisation by fungi could help to make food production more sustainable in the future.
The National Science Foundation recently provided funding to over 100 herbaria across the Southeast U.S. to digitize more than three million plant specimens collected by botanists and naturalists across the country. Researchers tracked the speed and productivity of staff and students who handled the specimens, from the collection drawers to online repositories, to provide institutions with a framework to better determine the time and money needed to digitize remaining collections.
Researchers at Aalto University have used lignin, a natural polymer abundant in wood and other plant sources, to create a safe, low-cost and high-performing coating for use in construction. As there is a global urge to meet the rising sustainability standards, this new coating has great potential to protect wood, whose use in construction is continually increasing. The new coating is non-toxic, hydrofobic, it retains wood's breathability and natural roughness while being resistant to colour changes and abrasion.
Humid tropical forests, vital in global efforts to limit rising temperatures, are under threat as a result of changes in land use and climate. Now, researchers reporting in the journal One Earth on July 23 have developed a new way to keep tabs on the vulnerability of these forests on a global scale using satellite data called the tropical forest vulnerability index (TFVI).