Recent Posts

Functional-structural plant modeling to understand species mixtures (J Exp Bot)

Mixing different plant species in a single field increases productivity by exploiting species complementarities for capturing resources (i.e. water, nutrients, sunlight). Both competition avoidance responses and individual organ accommodations to the changing environment  contribute to this complementarity.…

Plant iron acquisition strategy exploited by an insect herbivore ($) (Science)

When it comes to evading pests and pathogens, stealth comes in handy. Anything that advertises “food here” is an invitation. Therefore, the work of Hu et al. shouldn’t be surprising, but it is a great story. Phytosiderophores such as benzoxazinoid are secreted by roots to chelate iron and facilitate…

Footprints of parasitism in the genome of the parasitic flowering plant Cuscuta campestris (Nature Comms)

Even without knowing a lot about parasitic plants, you can probably guess some of the insights that come from the first parasitic plant genomic sequence. Because parasitic plants get their nutrients from another organism (functionally, they become heterotrophic), you might expect they would gradually…

Arabidopsis thaliana-associated Pseudomonas diversity and evolution

There is not much available information regarding the evolutionary aspects of one of the most studied pathosystem in plant biology: Arabidopsis thaliana and Pseudomonas. Karazov et al. performed various surveys in Arabidopsis wild populations, for the detection and characterization of their associated…

The demise of the largest and oldest African baobabs ($)

Patrut et al. report that 8 of the 13 oldest and 5 of the 6 largest African Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) trees, known for their enormous size and great longevity, have died (or at least their largest and/or oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died). Included in the dead are Panke, the oldest Baobab…

Impact of Conventional and Integrated Management Systems on the Water-Soluble Vitamin Content in Potatoes, Field Beans, and Cereals ($)

J. Agric. Food Chem. Agriculture in the EU is shifting towards a more sustainable use of resources and preservation of the biodiversity. This process requires a careful assessment of the balance between economic and environmental demands. To achieve this goal, the James Hutton Institute set up a long-term…

Strategic seed sourcing will enable species to better adapt to changing environments (eLIFE)

Yellow box, Eucalyptus melliodora, is an iconic Australian tree and foundation species of a critically endangered woodland community that is the target for restoration efforts. This community is currently severely fragmented, and less that 5 % of its original distribution remains. Models of climate prediction…

Pursuing sustainable productivity with millions of smallholder farmers ($) (Nature)

Improving crop productivity of rural areas while addressing pollution problems is a challenge that not only depends on scientific studies and technology but also requires an effective dialog with the smallholder farming communities. This month, Nature published the results of a ten-year Chinese agricultural…

Perspective: Farming with crops and rocks to address global climate, food and soil security (Nature Plants)

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are causing wide-ranging climate abnormalities. Beerling et al. discuss ways to capture CO2 in soils through augmenting soils with crushed basalt, or silicate-rich wastes such as sugarcane mill ash. As the added rock weathers, it reacts with gaseous CO2 to release cations…