Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils -- especially poor quality ones -- but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils' responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar's ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions.
The sweet, starchy orange sweet potatoes are tasty and nutritious ingredients for fries, casseroles and pies. Although humans have been cultivating sweet potatoes for thousands of years, scientists still don't know much about the protein makeup of these tubers. In ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, researchers have analyzed the proteome of sweet potato leaves and roots, and in the process, have revealed new insights into the plant's genome.
When plants absorb excess light energy during photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species are produced, potentially causing oxidative stress that damages important structures. Plants can suppress the production of reactive oxygen species by oxidizing P700 (the reaction center chlorophyll in photosystem I). A new study has revealed more about this vital process.
Accelerating plant evolution with CRISPR paves the way for breeders to engineer new crop varieties.
The migration and interaction routes of prehistoric humans throughout the islands of Oceania can be retraced using genetic differences between paper mulberry plants, a tree native to Asia cultivated for fibers to make paper and introduced into the Pacific in prehistoric times to make barkcloth.
Knowing how emissions are created can help reduce them.
Rapid resprouting and flowering of Bulbostylis paradoxa is proof of the Cerrado biome's superb resilience and its capacity to evolve through fire.
Plant root systems play a crucial role in ecosystems, radically impacting everything from nutrient cycling to species composition. Despite their importance, scientists are just beginning to develop the tools to understand how these complex systems are structured, how they function, and how structure and function are related. This special issue of Applications in Plant Sciences presents research from the cutting edge of root science, exploring questions from the subcellular to the ecosystem level.
A collaborative team of scientists from the US and Australia has named a new plant species from the remote Outback. Bucknell University biology postdoctoral fellow Angela McDonnell and professor Chris Martine led the description of the plant that had confounded field biologists for decades because of the unusual fluidity of its flower form. The discovery, published in the open-access journal PhytoKeys, offers a powerful example of the diversity of sexual forms found among plants.
If current climate and crop-improvement trends continue into the future, Midwestern corn growers who today rely on rainfall to water their crops will need to irrigate their fields, a new study finds. This could draw down aquifers, disrupt streams and rivers, and set up conflicts between agricultural and other human and ecological needs for water, scientists say.