Recent Posts

Crop variety management for climate adaptation supported by citizen science (PNAS)

Current research is focused on developing better crop varieties that could withstand the adversities posed by climate change; however, these varieties might perform worse than the locally-grown varieties in field conditions. This could be due to the release of varieties to farmers without performing…

New approaches to optimize somatic embryogenesis in maritime pine (Front Plant Sci)

Pinus pinaster Aiton, commonly known as maritime pine, is a coniferous tree, native to the Mediterranean region, and presently used as a model plant when studying coniferous trees due to the interest in its environmental adaptability. Maritime pine breeding programs use somatic embryogenesis, a biotechnological…

Natural Herbicide: Cyanobacterial antimetabolite inhibits the growth of prototrophic organisms (Nature Comms)

The shikimate pathway synthesizes aromatic amino acids in microorganisms and plants, and its absence in animals makes the shikimate pathway a common target for the development of herbicides. Brilisauer et al. 2019 isolated a novel compound from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus—7-deoxy-sedoheptulose…

Introducing curcumin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis enhances lignocellulosic biomass processing (Nature Plants)

Lignin, polymerized from aromatic monolignols, provides strength to cell walls but its resistance to enzymatic degradation thwarts efforts to isolate cellulosic carbohydrates from cell walls for biofuels and other applications. It has been shown that lignin’s properties can be altered by the incorporation…

Review: Green Bioplastics as part of a circular bioeconomy ($) (TIPS)

I feel guilty about using plastics but it’s hard to break free; they are so integral to a modern lifestyle. However, the problem of plastic pollution is frightening. About 80% of manufactured plastic ends up in landfills or the natural environment. It's appalling to learn that the "Great Pacific Garbage…

Review: Computational approaches to design and test plant synthetic metabolic pathways (Plant Physiol)

As photosynthetic organisms, plants are desirable and potentially cost-effective chassis for the production of novel compounds, but they are also inherently metabolically complex. Synthetic metabolic pathways can also improve upon nature by making plants more metabolically efficient. Küken and Nikoloski…

Genome-scale fluxome of Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 using transient 13C-labeling data (Plant Physiol)

Synechococcus elongates UTEX 2973 (also known as Synechococcus 2973) has the fastest doubling time of known cyanobacteria, completely replicating itself in just over two hours. This fast growth rate makes it an interesting platform for industrial applications. Hendry et al set out to understand what…

CRISPR Mutants Shed Light on Pectin’s Role in Tomato Fruit Softening

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits undergo pronounced softening during ripening. Softening is important for flavor development and overall palatability, but also impacts fruit storage, transportability, and shelf life. Shelf life is a particularly important quality trait of tomato fruits affected by…

Opinion: Capsaicinoids: Pungency beyond Capsicum (Trends Plant Sci)

You probably saw this article being discussed in your favorite news channel (in the UK, coverage spanned from the Daily Mail to the Guardian). In an Opinion article, Naves et al. discuss the genetics, biochemistry, ecology and health-benefits of capsaicinoids (the “heat” in chili pepper), and consider…