articles

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

Is vertical farming the answer to all our problems?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Usually, we aim for scientific accuracy and rather neutral representation of current research. Sometimes, however, we like to give you our honest opinion on new trends or technologies. This week, Joram shares his view on vertical farming.… Read more

How to deal with stress

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When plants get stressed it tends to slow them down. Drought stress – one of the most common causes of losses in crop productivity – can result in wilting, reduce growth, and ultimately, death. And the Climate Crisis means that drought risk is already increasing.

A study by Min May Wong and colleagues, published last year, reveals new key elements that help plants respond to drought, which may have implications for the productivity of plants, in both the good times and the bad.Read more

Behold, my brilliant blue fat globules!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Despite this planet we live on being largely blue, when it comes to plants, we don’t see a lot of the colour. Violets are blue, sure, as are blueberries (it’s right there in the name). But roses are red, and daisies are yellow, and the leafy bits of plants, for the most part – tend to be green. Blue, as it happens, is just not the easiest colour for plants to make. So most of them simply don’t bother.… Read more

Phosphorylation- the Givers and the Takers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’ll often hear that proteins are the ‘doers’ of the cell: DNA stores and passes information across generations, RNA is a messenger middle-man, but protein is where the action’s at.

Well, let me tell you that this is overly-simplified pro-protein propaganda (although maybe because my heart belongs to RNA). Because while proteins can do things, they often need a bit of help. Just because a protein is ‘there’, doesn’t mean that it’s active. Many proteins need to be literally chaperoned into the right 3-D structure, require other co-factors to do their job (like minerals and pigments), or only work when they’re part of a multi-protein complex.… Read more

Plastic in your Plants

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Recent reports have revealed the alarming ability of microplastics to accumulate in fish and other sea creatures, with the ultimate fear being that these plastics might end up on human plates. They may also accumulate within the tissue of some plants, as further shown by two recent studies.… Read more

These two genes help rice to keep its head above water

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Think about any crop plant and what of it is important to you. You might say taste, fruit size, yield per acre – but would you consider plant height? Maybe you should! Researchers have discovered two new genes that react to flooding and control the height of rice plants – so that they don’t drown.… Read more

Missing: Have you seen this Coffee?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Alternative Title: You’re not a real hipster unless you drink Coffea stenophylla (but you can still be in our club if you choose C. affinis.)

Coffee. It’s a hot beverage on a cold day, a quick wake-me-up drug to help you through that morning meeting, and a multibillion dollar industry which involves over 100 million people at the farming stage alone.

Today, we tell the story of two missing coffee species – how they were lost, how they were found again, and what the future might hold for their survival, and that of one of world’s favourite hot beverages.… Read more

Do GMO have worse off-target effects than conventional plants?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Without plant breeding, the fruit and veggies of today would look very differentOver thousands of years, humans have  genetically modified plants through selective breeding, to yield bigger, tastier and hardier plants. In the 1990s, the tool set of plant breeders was extended by means of genome engineering. Genome engineering encompasses the introduction of foreign genes into the DNA of plants as well as other molecular methods that selectively modify, delete or add genetic information. … Read more