articles

Where are our GM superfoods?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the idea of genetically modified (GM) crops, we the public were promised amazing new products. Healthier, tastier and better plant based foods to fill our plates. But now, it’s been over 30 years since people first proposed to use genetic engineering in plant breeding, and our plates mostly contain the same plant products as before.

What happened?… Read more

Coccolitho-four facts

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ok, ok. So this blog is supposed to be about plants, and the amazing things that they do. But what we’re talking about today isn’t actually a plant. Instead, it’s a bunch of unicellular algae known as coccolithophores. Here are our four favourite facts about these fascinating not-quite-plants.… Read more

Give peas a chance

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When the sun comes out, Germans and Australians have something in common: we light a fire and start cooking food outdoors. The usual barbecued suspects are sausages of questionable origin, something sitting in a red marinade, and charred but somehow-still-raw chicken breast. While this does sound mouthwatering, a new trend might bring a fresh player to the barbecues and kitchens around the world – plant based protein products.

Let’s have a look at what makes plant protein special.… Read more

Single cell technology hits plant roots!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Often, when trying to find out what’s going on within our favourite green friends, we scientists simply grab a plants, grind it up, and perform a range of molecular or biochemical tests. But if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that not all plant parts are created equal. … Read more

Choice of the bees: pollinator pressure and flower colour

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The other day, my friend and I were musing over the fact that many flowering plants require a third party pollinator in order to complete the fairly simple act of reproducing. And that while this sexual ‘three-or-moresome’ has some pretty great advantages, it also forces plants to spend a fair amount of energy just in attracting the middle men.… Read more

Knowing when it’s wintertime.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Winter time can be hard for plants, and many species that live in particularly cold climates do their best to ‘opt out’. When autumn comes, leaf shedding deciduous species effectively shut it all down. They reabsorb as many nutrients as they can from their leaves, throw the remaining orange-red husks to the ground, and hunker down for the cold times.… Read more

Superpowers and lion’s teeth

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last weekend, the Fast Forward Science competition held its Super Fast challenge – 24 hours to tell a story about science on Instagram… this year, with the topic of “Hero”. I didn’t have to look far in my neighbourhood to find a true hero of the plant world: dandelion.… Read more

CTRL-C, CTRL-V: Plants plagiarize to make new mitochondrial proteins

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You’ll probably remember this one from grade school biology. Mitochondria are ‘the powerhouse of the cell’. Which basically means that mitochondria take sugars and break them down to make energy.

But those little powerhouses were once so much more- they were an entire organisms. A very long time ago, a certain type of proteobacteria was engulfed by a single celled host organism, but that organism decided that instead of digesting the proteobacteria, it would hold onto it. With time, the proteobacteria evolved into the modern mitochondria, a process that involved most of its very own bacterial genome being stolen away, and sequestered in the nucleus of the host.… Read more

Wir waren beim PTDW

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hello to our English-speaking readers. This post is in German, you can find an English version here.

Hallo alle zusammen, heute gibt es mal etwas anderes.

Letztes Wochenende waren Joram und ich beim Potsdamer Tag der Wissenschaften, um Plants and Pipettes vorzustellen. Während wir normalerweise hier auf Englisch schreiben und sprechen, haben wir uns dieses mal auf Deutsch unterhalten, was mich ein kleines bisschen gestresst hat (Abb. 1). Dennoch hatten wir viel Spaß dabei, mit dem Publikum zu reden, Sonnenblumensamen zu verteilen und Fragen einzusammeln.… Read more