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

  • The gypsum gravity chute: A phytoplankton-elevator to the ocean floor
    on May 22, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Tiny gypsum crystals can make phytoplankton so heavy that they rapidly sink, hereby transporting large quantities of carbon to the ocean's depths. […]

  • A hidden world of communication, chemical warfare, beneath the soil
    on May 22, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    New research shows how some of these harmful microbes have to contend not just with a farmer's chemical attacks, but also with their microscopic neighbors -- and themselves turn to chemical warfare to ward off threats. […]

  • How wheat can root out the take-all fungus
    on May 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    In the soils of the world's cereal fields, a family tussle between related species of fungi is underway for control of the crops' roots, with food security on the line. Beneficial fungi can help plants to protect themselves from cousins eager to overwhelm the roots, but it's a closely fought battle. Working out the right conditions to support those beneficial fungi and identifying the cereal varieties that are best suited to make the most of that help is no mean task. […]

  • Sweet potatoes didn't originate in the Americas as previously thought
    on May 21, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Sweet potatoes may seem as American as Thanksgiving, but scientists have long debated whether their plant family originated in the Old or New World. New research by a paleobotanist suggests it originated in Asia, and much earlier than previously known. […]

  • The chestnut gall wasp -- The threat of an invasive species with clonal reproduction
    on May 21, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    A molecular study carried out on the chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, has revealed the absence of genetic variability in this invasive species, a chestnut-tree parasite, in Europe. This is due to the fact that the wasp's reproduction is strictly parthenogenetic, the females produce more females without having to be fertilized by a male. The high capacity of reproduction of the females, producing genetically identical daughters, give this insect a high invasive potential. […]

  • Battling bubbles: How plants protect themselves from killer fungus
    on May 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    In the battle between plants and pathogens, molecules called small RNAs are coveted weapons used by both invaders and defenders. Researchers report how plants package and deliver the sRNAs they use to fight back against plant pathogens. The study focused on Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that causes a grey mold disease in strawberries, tomatoes, and almost all fruits, vegetables, and many flowers. […]

  • Monitoring of tropical trees in face of climate change
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Experts have challenged the principle that tropical ecosystems are aseasonal -- after discovering regular cycles in fruiting, flowering and leafing in such climates. […]

  • Feeding habits of ancient elephants uncovered from grass fragments stuck in their teeth
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    A new study examined the feeding habits of ancient elephant relatives that inhabited Central Asia some 17 million years ago. […]

  • Photosynthesis involves a protein 'piston'
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    The photosystem I (PSI)-ferrodoxin (Fd) complex is important in electron transfer during photosynthesis, through which plants convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into complex chemicals and oxygen. Scientists have recently crystallized the PSI-Fd complex for the first time. They found that the PSI-Fd complex contained Fd with weak and strong binding states and that Fd binding caused the PSI subunits to reorganize into a structure that facilitated rapid electron transfer. […]

  • La Trobe's infection-busting discovery
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Scientists have shown a protein found in a tobacco plant has the potential to fight life-threatening infectious diseases. […]

  • Explaining the history of Australia's vegetation
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    New research has uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. […]

  • Natural regeneration or tree-planting? Study points to bias in forest restoration studies
    on May 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    At a time when countries are pledging to restore millions of hectares of forest, new research argues that recent studies on forest regeneration techniques are flawed. Sites used to evaluate natural regeneration were secondary growth forests, whereas sites chosen to evaluate artificial regeneration ranged from abandoned coal mines to cattle-trampled fields. Authors of the new study suggest elements of both techniques should be considered, depending on the objectives for a site and its current state. […]

  • Whole-tree logging may not hinder plant biodiversity
    on May 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    When it comes to timber harvesting, removing the whole tree -- from stump to twigs -- doesn't reduce plant diversity any more than old-fashioned logging, which leaves tree branches behind in the woods, new research finds. […]

  • A simple software error corrected: Bittersweet chloroplast genome becomes the model
    on May 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Information about the organization and evolution of plastomes is crucial to improve crop plants and to resolve the phylogeny of photosynthetic organisms. In a recent study researchers have sequenced the plastid genome of a weed called bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara). […]

  • Less water, same Texas cotton
    on May 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    In Texas, the Southern High Plains uses water from an aquifer to water cotton fields. However, the aquifer is running low. Scientists from the area are working to find the best irrigation method for cotton that uses the least water. […]

  • Scientists' new way to identify microscopic worm attacking coffee crops
    on May 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    The plants which produce one of the most popular drinks in the world, coffee, are targeted by a microscopic worm, but scientists are fighting back. An underestimated problem in coffee farming, the parasite has been found in soil samples across the coffee growing world thanks to a new and quick detection method. […]

  • Forest loss in one part of US can harm trees on the opposite coast
    on May 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    If a whole forest disappears, new research shows, this has ricocheting effects in the atmosphere that affect vegetation on the other side of the country. […]

  • Carnivorous plants: How the waterwheel plant snaps
    on May 15, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Biologists and civil engineers have analyzed the rapid movement of the snap-trap with which the carnivorous plant catches its prey. […]

  • Accumulating over time, even low concentrations of silver can foil wastewater treatment
    on May 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Research has shed new light how an increasingly common consumer product component -- silver nanoparticles -- can potentially interfere with the treatment of wastewater. […]

  • Biologists identify temporal logic of regulatory genes affecting nitrogen use efficiency in plants
    on May 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    A team of biologists and computer scientists has adopted a time-based machine-learning approach to deduce the temporal logic of nitrogen signaling in plants from genome-wide expression data. […]

  • Fungi may help restore native plant populations
    on May 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Transplanting fungi to restore native plant populations in the Midwest and Northwest is a new focus of efforts by conservationists. Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with many plant roots, which helps stabilize the soil, conserve water and provides a habitat for many birds and insects, said one of the authors of the new study. […]

  • Cocoa CRISPR: Gene editing shows promise for improving the 'chocolate tree'
    on May 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Use of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 could help to breed cacao trees that exhibit desirable traits such as enhanced resistance to diseases. […]

  • Inequality is normal: Dominance of the big trees
    on May 8, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    The top 1 percent of the forest has been sharing some vital information with researchers. Ninety-eight scientists and thousands of field staff have concluded the largest study undertaken to date with the Smithsonian Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO), and what they have found will have profound implications toward ecological theories and carbon storage in forests. […]

  • Understanding how DNA is selectively tagged with 'do not use' marks
    on May 7, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Scientists identify proteins that target specific DNA regions to keep genetic material under control. […]

  • Stomata -- the plant pores that give us life -- arise thanks to a gene called MUTE
    on May 7, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    New research in plants shows that a gene called MUTE is required for the formation of stomata -- the tiny pores that a critical for gas exchange, including releasing the oxygen gas that we breathe. […]

  • Genetics help make a weed a weed
    on May 7, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    New research finds that the success of weedy and invasive plants like the Jerusalem artichoke lies in their genes. […]

  • 3D reconstruction of hidden branch structures made by using image analysis and AI tech
    on May 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Scientists have succeeded in reconstruction of plant branch structures, including the branch structures under leaves, by using image analysis and artificial intelligence technology, a world first. […]

  • Plants get a brace to precisely shed flowers and leaves
    on May 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Spring. As a delicate wind blows, pink cherry blossom petals leave branches by flying in the air. It sounds like the setting of a romantic movie, but it is actually the research topic. Biologists are keen on studying this as the mechanism of such process is far from clear. Spoiling the magic, each of the falling petals leaves behind a little open cut, which might be prone to infection. The same happens when plants shed leaves, fruits, and seeds. […]

  • Mistletoe has lost 'most of its respiratory capacity'
    on May 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Most people know mistletoe as a plant to hang up and kiss under at the holidays. But in its natural environment, mistletoe is a hemiparasite, latching onto trees and extracting water and nutrients from them. Now, two independent studies show that mistletoe's parasitic lifestyle has brought about a surprising evolutionary loss. Mistletoe lacks key components of the cellular machinery other organisms depend upon to convert glucose into ATP. […]

  • A new model for communication in plant cells
    on May 3, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    A study suggests a new model for how glutamate receptor-like proteins (GLRs) function in plant cells. Working with Arabidopsis thaliana pollen cells, the researchers found that GLRs form the basis of a complex communication network inside individual plant cells. Their findings also suggest that GLRs rely on another group of proteins, called 'cornichon' proteins, to shuttle GLRs to different locations and regulate GLR activity within each cell. […]