Recent Posts

Plant neighbor detection and allelochemical response are driven by root-secreted signaling chemicals (Nature Communications)

Plants are not able to move out of their neighborhood if they are unhappy, but they are capable of recruiting and assembling a community in which they are able to thrive. Plants are also able to initiate defense when they sense that threats are near. To keep tabs on their neighbors, plants utilize both…

Review: Mechanisms of plant–soil feedback: interactions among biotic and abiotic drivers

We often think about how the soil environment influences plants, but two new papers focus on how plants influence the soil environment (through abiotic and biotic effects), in turn affecting other plants. These plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) can be negative (resource depletion, natural enemy accumulation)…

Opinion: Limits to tree growth and longevity (TIPS)

I think trees are awesome, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. They dwarf us in height, and when we look at a tree that has lived for hundreds or thousands of years it is impossible not to think of that span in terms of human generations and human history. But, trees don’t live or grow…

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…