How plants defend themselves

By Justin Bauer In the 350 million years that plants and insects have coexisted, both have evolved strategies to avoid each other’s defense systems. Plants have developed an elegant defense system that can recognize foreign molecules or damaged cells that activate the immune response.1 Plants have two main forms of defense: direct defense and indirectContinue reading “How plants defend themselves”

Aquaporins in rice- germination and drought resistance

By Shi Yeung Aquaporins, also known as water channels, are proteins embedded in the cell membrane that facilitate water transport across the membrane in various organisms including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Plant aquaporins are classified into subfamilies, which includes plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP), tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIP), Nod26-like intrinsic proteins (NIP), small and basicContinue reading “Aquaporins in rice- germination and drought resistance”

Fungi: the forgotten kingdom in conservation

By Cara Burke When you picture conservation, you probably picture teams of people working with large animals, collecting plants or restoring ecosystems. Fungi are very often kept out of the conservation picture. However, they definitely deserve a place there, and their importance in conservation is increasingly being recognised. Fungi are incredibly important to ecosystems andContinue reading “Fungi: the forgotten kingdom in conservation”

Reducing methane emissions from rice cultivation

By Malini Williams Rice is one of the most important crops in the world, representing an essential staple in the diets of billions of people around the world. It represents one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide and is grown on more than 140 million hectares (Hawken, 2017; Wassman, Hosen, & Sumfleth, 2009). However, rice cultivationContinue reading “Reducing methane emissions from rice cultivation”

Can plants get cancer?

By Jessica Lu Cancer can be defined as a group of diseases characterised by uncontrolled cell division and genomic instability, eventually leading to dispersion to different sites (metastasis). In general, multicellular organisms are at risk of failure in the mechanisms that prevent continuous cell proliferation, leading to tumours (Doonan & Sablowski, 2010). Plants are multicellularContinue reading “Can plants get cancer?”

How do plants heal themselves?

By Shi Yeung Plants have a remarkable regeneration capacity that allows them to heal their wounds or even generate new individuals. The regeneration of whole-body plants is exploited widely in plant propagation of certain species by cutting the leaves, cane, or roots, and growing a fully functional plant from this. In this article, we willContinue reading “How do plants heal themselves?”

How plantibodies are revolutionising the world of biopharmaceuticals.

By Easha Vigneswaran The use of plants in medical technology has been exploited by scientists for many years. In the nineties, the discovery plant use to manufacture antibodies provided a new insight into how we can use plants to benefit the pharmaceutical world. Antibodies are complex molecules called immunoglobulins, responsible for the attenuation of pathogenicContinue reading “How plantibodies are revolutionising the world of biopharmaceuticals.”

The Role of Caffeine in Plants

By Ellie Fung As wild as it may sound, caffeine was not designed to be guzzled upon by sleep-deprived university students. Its stimulant activity is exploited by millions worldwide, whether it be a morning coffee or a late-night Redbull, but much less is known about its function in the plants that produce them. These generaContinue reading “The Role of Caffeine in Plants”

Will planting trees help in the fight against climate change?

By Rachel Chan Tree planting (ironically) is hot right now. In a bid to tackle climate change, countries and organisations worldwide have pledged to plant more trees. The UK government has pledged to plant a million trees between 2020 and 2024, and Ethiopia claimed to have planted 350 million trees in a day in 2019Continue reading “Will planting trees help in the fight against climate change?”

Can planting flowers save bees?

By Cara Burke Many gardening shows and magazines advocate for the planting of flowers that attract bees and pollinators. But can the simple choice of flowers make a difference to the survival of bees? It can be hard to believe that our gardening choices could make a real difference to a species’ decline, especially consideringContinue reading “Can planting flowers save bees?”