Botany News -- ScienceDaily Botany news. Read about the latest research on experimental crops, dramatic changes in forest growth, ancient flowering plants and more.

  • Model by which plants adapt their photosynthetic metabolism to light intensity
    on November 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    A new model explains the molecular mechanism used by plants to adapt their photosynthetic mechanism to light intensity. […]

  • New database catalogues plants that soak up contamination
    on November 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Hyperaccumulators are unusual plants that can absorb much larger amounts of metal compounds in their leaves and stems than normal plants, and they are very useful for cleaning up contaminated land. […]

  • Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Scientists designed plants with light green leaves with hopes of allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy and increase overall light use efficiency and yield. This strategy was tested in a recent modeling study that found leaves with reduced chlorophyll content do not actually improve canopy-level photosynthesis, but instead, conserve a significant amount of nitrogen that the plant could reinvest to improve light use efficiency and increase yield. […]

  • What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden? […]

  • Uncovering essential enzymes for plant growth during nitrogen starvation
    on November 20, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    A study has found that two key enzymes in plants called PAH1 and PAH2 are critical for survival and growth under nitrogen-depleted conditions. The study sheds new light on how plants could be modified in future to boost tolerance to nutrient-poor environments. […]

  • Raindrops splash pathogens onto crops
    on November 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses or fungi, cause harmful plant disease and often lead to the destruction of agricultural fields. With many possible dispersal methods, it can often be difficult to assess the damage of a pathogen’s impact before it’s too late. […]

  • Tiger bones? Lion bones? An almost extinct cycad? On-the-spot DNA checks at ports of entry
    on November 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Wildlife species are going extinct faster than humankind can reliably keep track of. Meanwhile, wildlife crime evolves quickly, with new tricks fueling a lucrative illegal global trade. As a result, customs and other port-of-entry officials confronted with unidentifiable bits of animals and plants need to make rapid decisions based on reliable information. LifeScanner LAB-IN-A-BOX, a portable DNA barcoding lab can serve as a new tool for rapid on-site species identification, adding to law enforcement's arsenal. […]

  • A photosynthetic organism's 'Water World'
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Following the path of radicals and being able to identify many damaged residues because of incredibly accurate, expeditious and sensitive mass spectrometry, three scientists studied the great granddaddy of all photosynthetic organisms -- a strain of cyanobacteria -- to develop the first experimental map of that organism's water world. […]

  • Biological timing: Biologists investigate the mechanism of an auxiliary clock
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    This year's Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology recognizes the identification of genes that control the biological clock. In newly published research, scientists have found that not only the biological clock, but also a protein acting as an "auxiliary clock" ensures that recurring routines take place in the cells. […]

  • Drones could help crop management take off, research shows
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Initial results of an ongoing study show that aerial imagery produced by multi-spectral sensors as well as less-expensive digital cameras may improve accuracy and efficiency of plant stand assessment in cotton. […]

  • Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods
    on November 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    People living in polluted urban areas are far less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma when there are lots of trees in their neighborhood, a new study has found. […]

  • Plant respiration could become a bigger feedback on climate than expected
    on November 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    New research suggests that plant respiration is a larger source of carbon emissions than previously thought, and warns that as the world warms, this may reduce the ability of Earth's land surface to absorb emissions due to fossil fuel burning. […]

  • European forests might not be realizing their full potential
    on November 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    European forest managers can have their cake and eat it, because according to a new study maximizing timber production in a forest does not necessarily have to come at a cost of reduced species diversity or the capacity to regulate climate change by the same forest. However most European forests fall well below their possible maximum levels of these three capacities. […]

  • Aquatic plant may help remove contaminants from lakes
    on November 16, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    A tiny aquatic plant called duckweed might be a viable option for remove phosphorus, nitrates, nitrites and even heavy metals from lakes, ponds and slow-moving waterbodies. […]

  • How Snapdragons keep their color: Signposting trick reveals evolutionary mechanism
    on November 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    A study of the colour patterns among wild flowers in a mountain valley has yielded a clue about how nature controls fundamental evolutionary change in all species. […]

  • Bacterium in a beetle makes it a leaf-eater
    on November 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    A leaf-eating beetle has evolved a symbiotic relationship that allows the insect to break down pectin. The findings on the novel function of the bacterium, which has a surprisingly tiny genome -- much smaller than previous reports on the minimum size required for an organism not subsisting within a host cell. […]

  • Secrets of succulents' water-wise ways revealed
    on November 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Plant scientists have revealed new insights into the mechanisms that allow certain plants to conserve water and tolerate drought. The research could be used to help produce new crops that can thrive in previously inhospitable, hot and dry regions across the world. […]

  • Gene discovery may halt worldwide wheat epidemic
    on November 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    A gene that enables resistance to a new devastating strain of stem rust, a fungal disease that is hampering wheat production throughout Africa and Asia and threatening food security worldwide, has been identified by scientists. […]

  • Where a leaf lands and lies influences carbon levels in soil for years to come
    on November 15, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available. […]

  • Are petite poplars the future of biofuels? Studies say yes
    on November 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Scientists are trying to make poplar a viable competitor in the biofuels market by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently — after only two or three years — instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle. […]

  • Flower attracts insects by pretending to be a mushroom
    on November 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that  A. elatior  had the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms. […]

  • Microbiome transplants provide disease resistance in critically-endangered Hawaiian plant
    on November 14, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    A team of researchers transplanted microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide. […]

  • Parasitic plants rely on unusual method to spread their seeds
    on November 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Three species of non-photosynthetic plants rely mainly on camel crickets to disperse their seeds. […]

  • Eating regular variety of nuts associated with lower risk of heart disease
    on November 14, 2017 at 12:51 am

    People who regularly eat nuts, including peanuts, walnuts and tree nuts, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease compared to people who never or almost never eat nuts, according to a new study. The study is the largest to date looking at frequency of nut consumption in relation to incident cardiovascular disease. […]

  • Geologists uncover Antarctica’s fossil forests
    on November 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Prehistoric polar forests were built for survival, but were not hardy enough to live in ultra-high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. A geologist is studying the tree fossil record in Antarctica from a mass extinction 250 million years ago, looking for clues to how greenhouse gases affected plants -- then and now. […]

  • Poison-ivy an unlikely hero in warding off exotic invaders?
    on November 13, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    The invasive Japanese knotweed causes much more severe damage to floodplain forests along the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania, USA, than previously thought. Furthermore, the researchers point to a key role for the often-maligned poison-ivy as a native species that can not only compete with knotweed but also help sustain the growth of new trees. […]

  • Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
    on November 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Trees in metropolitan areas have been growing faster than trees in rural areas worldwide since the 1960s. This has been confirmed for the first time by a study on the impact of the urban heat island effect on tree growth. The analysis shows that the growth of urban trees has already been exposed to changing climatic conditions for longer, which is just beginning to happen for trees in rural areas. […]

  • Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing
    on November 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Productivity and stability of forest ecosystems strongly depend on the functional diversity of plant communities. Researchers have developed a new method to measure and map functional diversity of forests at different scales -- from individual trees to whole communities -- using remote sensing by aircraft. Their work paves the way for future airborne and satellite missions to monitor global plant functional diversity. […]

  • Tomatoes with enhanced antioxidant properties created with genetic engineering
    on November 10, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    New research has identified a new strategy to simultaneously enhance health-promoting vitamin E by ~6-fold and double both provitamin A and lycopene contents in tomatoes, to significantly boost antioxidant properties. […]

  • Breeding highly productive corn has reduced its ability to adapt
    on November 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Researchers wanted to know whether the last 100 years of selecting for corn that is acclimated to particular locations has changed its ability to adapt to new or stressful environments. By measuring populations of corn plants planted across North America, they could test how the corn genomes responded to different growing conditions. […]