May Day and Mary’s Tears

Happy May Day everyone. For some, today marks the beginning of Spring, which is more than enough reason for us to rejoice.

But let’s do our rejoicing in a way that involves learning, shall we?… Read more

Fighting fungus with fungus

While fungi can be very beneficial to a plant, some other Fungi are just no fun when you want to grow crops. We talked already about a banana fungus destroying plantations across the world, and also cereals like corn, barley and wheat suffer from various fungus-induced diseases. Now, researchers have found crucial details on a gene that helps to fight the fungal infestation.… Read more

National Tea Day – our nerdy tea facts

According to some people on the internet, today April 21st, is National Tea Day in my new adopted country (UK).

So why don’t you grab a hot cup of infused Camellia sinensis, and join us for our 4 favourite nerdy tea facts.… Read more

Joram and the Easter Egg Plants

Those of you who have followed for a while will know that neither Joram nor I are religious, but that we both grew up in vaguely Christian cultures. So although we’ve gone with an Easter theme here, we want to wish everyone- whether they’re observing Easter, the start of Passover, or (in a couple of weeks time) the beginning of Ramadan, or if they’re just happy that the seasons are changing – peace, happiness, and as much time as spent with loved ones as possible in these tricky times.… Read more

A bug’s life (and/or death)

When under attack from herbivores, plants can’t rely on a speedy getaway. Instead, they use a range of defences, that include the physical (thorns and trichomes) and the chemical (bitter taste or poison). They also take solace in the fact that their herbivorous enemies have enemies of their own….

This is a story with three players. A strawberry, a beetle that wants to destroy it, and the parasitoid wasp that consumes the beetle from the inside out.… Read more

Spring bursts forth…slowly

The arrival of spring often happens quite suddenly: within days, trees can change from bare to bountiful, and the world is filled with flowers!

In a recent publication, Luis Villar and colleagues made a huge step towards understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive floral development in the important crop plant sweet cherry. As well as giving us a deeper understanding of one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomena, the study also highlights the contrasting importance of both model species research, and that of sometimes focusing beyond our beloved Arabidopsis.… Read more

Life in the litterbox

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life gives you kitty litter, you make… a new affordable growth system that could make it easier to broaden our understanding of plant-microbe interactions!… Read more

Fungal Juice- Keeping Science Simple

In order to help our favourite lab plants and microorganisms grow fast and strong, we aim to provide them with the conditions and nutrients they need. To do so, we often rely on media mixes that are both complex and expensive to make. Now, researchers show that an important fungus species, that acts as a model for plant-fungal symbiosis, can be grown better than before on a very simple diet that contains just two ingredients. And one of them can be found at your local store.Read more