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Enzymes are stupid – C4 trees, forest sounds, women saving bird research

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Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho! It’s a new episode of your favourite podcast about plants and pipettes. This week, we’re talking about C3 and C4 trees, the sounds of forests and how women disrupted bird research. Let’s go!

Paper of the week

Sophie N R Young, Lawren Sack, Margaret J Sporck-Koehler, Marjorie R Lundgren, Why is C4 photosynthesis so rare in trees?, Journal of Experimental Botany

Please note: we’re using ‘malate’ for ease of communication. We get that it doesn’t always have to be malate, there are other 4 carbon compounds that can do the job as well.… Read more

How the Cucumber got its Curve

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One of the stupidest arguments of the past years (and oh, there have been some strong contenders!), was the debate about the EU trying to regulate how bendy bananas were. Today we discuss a much more rational question: how the cucumber got its curve.

Trust us guys, there’s barely any politics in there!… Read more

Penguin Poop is Pink

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Penguin poop, as it turns out is pink.

And I need you all to know that – despite what several sources might say- the reason it’s pink, isn’t because of the krill (little sea crustaceans) that they eat.… Read more

Faking Sick

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You may have stared lovingly at a variegated Monstera, asking yourself if there will ever be a day when you can afford such beauty… but have you ever wondered why that beauty even exists? In a study that involves – of all things – white-out (Tipp-Ex), scientists find a link between patterns of white cells of plant leaves, and a desire to avoid herbivores. … Read more

When Chloroplasts go GIANT

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2007, Chiou-Rong Sheue and colleagues published the discovery of a new type of chloroplast, called the bizonoplast. The bizonoplasts found deep within the cells of the spikemoss Selaginella erythropus was unique among its chloroplast kind in several ways. … Read more

Twice As Bright as Sunlight

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In 2013, a new species of algae emerged from the sand crusts of Israel’s Negev desert (or, that is to say, the existence of the species was published).  In an environment where the sunlight beats down with fierce intensity, where temperatures reach 60 degrees on a hot summer’s day yet plunge to subfreezing on winter’s night, and where water comes and goes in quick succession, few species can survive. Yet a mix of desert extremophiles make their home where others would perish. … Read more

Succulent chicken – Phytomining, Cyanotype, Boosted Tobacco

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After an uneventful week, our two main protagonists meet yet again to discuss the ups and downs of current plant research. Tag along as our heroes discuss the true meaning of succulent, how to mine Nickel and why blue plant outlines are so hot right now*. 

*in the 19th century… Read more