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Simple Things* #11

Some tiny parts are special: when you look at them in a blue light, they don’t look blue but instead green or red. They take the heat that is in the blue light, keep some for themselves and then send turn the rest of the heat into green or red light. They do that always in the same way and people who figure things out can use this in many different ways. … Read more

Plants give us power

Here at Plants and Pipettes, we love anything that generates power from energy sources. We love our fossil fuels just as much as we love our nuclear energy and even the regenerative biomass has a place in our hearts. Today marks the first day of our mini-series on the greatest plants in the world.… Read more

Cats and Naked Ladies

If you have furry friends, you probably know about the things that hurt them. And because we here at Plants and Pipettes are ‘Team Cat’, we’re talking today about a certain plant that can be deadly to them. And also naked ladies. ‘Let’s not get too clickbaity’, I thought. Followed immediately by ‘I should write about cats and naked ladies, the two things that the internet loves best’.… Read more

Simple Things* #10

The sun throws light from the sky while the ground gives food to all green things. But how do they know to put their long and thin feet into the ground and their green hands in the air? Green living things have a sense to know what is up and what is down. In one kind of special tiny water bag they make tiny stones – these stones are made from the stuff we use for food made in a hot box that we eat in the morning.… Read more

There’s no such thing as ‘the’ Arabidopsis genome

In the year 2000, the first complete nuclear genome of a plant species – Arabidopsis thaliana – was released into the wild (a.k.a to bunch of salivating scientists). Less than twenty years later, we had a total of 1135 genomes… for Arabidopsis alone! Today we’re talking about Arabidopsis ‘races’, and how they are a powerful tool for unravelling plant secrets.… Read more

Throwing Shade

  • joram 

Dingdingdingding it’s a new episode of the plants and pipettes podcast! This week, Tegan brought you a paper about how plants recognise their family growing left and right of them. Joram looked at vernalisation and how it is triggered after winter when plants bolt and produce flowers. Enjoy!… Read more

RuBisCO: Room for Improvement?

Welcome to the final instalment of our three part series on RuBisCO. Today, we discuss three key ideas and attempts to improve RuBisCO… or at least to more efficiently clean up its mess. … Read more

Simple Things* #9

Green living things can’t move to one another like animals do to make more of themselves. So, they use smaller animals to help them. Green living things have cups at the end of their stick-like bodies, and these cups have colors and smells that make small animals want to come to them. A green living thing puts some special stuff that sticks to things at the end of long tiny sticks in the middle of the cups. This special stuff is important to make more of the green living thing.… Read more

Mushroom Diet: The Orchids who give up Photosynthesis

When we think of plants we tend to make certain assumptions. Green, for starters. Photosynthesising, for sure. But some plants have decided to throw it all away, and act like the animals do. Meet Epipactis helleborine, an orchid species that sometimes lives entirely on a diet of mushrooms.
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PEPC is the new RuBisCOla

Last week, we discussed how RuBisCO, although incredible and amazing…is also a little bit terrible at its job. Today we’re introducing a couple of cheats that plants have found to work around RuBisCO’s issues, and what this might mean for the future of food and fuel for humankind.
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