articles

Unfading Amaranth

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many of you have probably already heard of amaranth. The pseudocereal jumped to global attention a few years back, as another ‘ancient superfood’ that could cure our health woes, following in the footsteps of foods like quinoa and chia.

I’m a little late to jump on the amaranth bandwagon, but last week I heard about some cool new scientific research that made me want to know more about the wondergrain.  So here are five facts about #ourfavouriteplant of the week, amaranth… Read more

P-bodies prepare plants for growth in the light

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As anyone living in a poorly lit apartment (or country- heyo Germany!) will tell you, plants are pretty fond of light. Nonetheless, for many plants, life begins in darkness. Seeds often germinate under several centimetres of soil, so seedlings spend the first moments of their existence struggling to escape the black. Once they do, the success of finally meeting the light comes with its own challenge: a need for the plantling to discard the tools it used to emerge from seed and soil, and swiftly develop a skill for sunbathing.… Read more

Not Like Dad

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to a new Plants and Pipettes segment- #didtheyreallycallitthat, in which we discuss the bizarre names that plant scientists give their favourite genes, proteins or mutants. Just for the record, we at Plants and Pipettes are totally in favour of inventive naming. It makes everything a lot easier to remember. And at least a little bit more fun.… Read more

Jurassic Bark

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last weekend, while snooping around the Copenhagen Botanical Garden, I ran into a fellow Australian. Wollemia nobilis, the stuff of coniferous-tree legends! A tree that stood still in time as dinosaurs walked the Earth and then perished, as tectonic plates shifted and reshaped the lands, and as the ice advanced and retreated. A tree that was lost, and then found… but even now remains hidden in a location known only to some chosen few. Here are some of my favourite facts about the Australian Wollemi pine.… Read more

Simple Things* #11

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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

RuBisCO: Room for Improvement?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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