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Flora Library > News & Articles

 

Forest & trees

  • Tree pollen carries SARS-CoV-2 particles farther, facilitates virus spread, study finds - A study on the role of microscopic particles in virus transmission suggests pollen is nothing to sneeze at. In a new study, researchers investigate how pollen facilitates the spread of an RNA virus like the COVID-19 virus. The study draws on cutting-edge computational approaches for analyzing fluid dynamics to mimic the pollen movement from a willow tree, a prototypical pollen emitter. Airborne pollen grains contribute to the spread of airborne viruses, especially in crowded environments.
  • The origins of farming insects more than 100 million years ago - A beetle bores a tree trunk to build a gallery in the wood in order to protect its lay. As it digs the tunnel, it spreads ambrosia fungal spores that will feed the larvae. When these bore another tree, the adult beetles will be the transmission vectors of the fungal spores in another habitat. This mutualism among insects and ambrosia fungi could be more than 100 million years old, more than what was thought to date.
  • Climate warming can influence fungal communities on oak leaves across the growing season - Climate warming plays a larger role than plant genes in influencing the number and identity of fungal species on oak leaves, especially in autumn. This research by ecologists sheds light on how warming and tree genes affect the dynamics of fungal communities across the season.

News & articles

  • Yeast and bacteria together biosynthesize plant hormones for weed control - Plants regulate their growth using hormones, including a group called strigolactones that prevent excessive budding and branching. Strigolactones also help plant roots form symbiotic relationships with microorganisms that allow the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil. These two factors have led to agricultural interest in using strigolactones to control the growth of weeds and root parasites, as well as improving nutrient uptake. These root-extruding compounds also stimulate germination of witchweeds and broomrapes, which can cause entire crops of grain to fail, making thorough research essential prior to commercial development. Now scientists have synthesized strigolactones from microbes.
  • The microbial molecule that turns plants into 'zombies' - A newly discovered manipulation mechanism used by parasitic bacteria to slow down plant aging, may offer new ways to protect disease-threatened food crops. Research has identified a manipulation molecule produced by Phytoplasma bacteria to hijack plant development. When inside a plant, this protein causes key growth regulators to be broken down, triggering abnormal growth. The new findings show how the bacterial protein known as SAP05 manipulates plants by taking advantage of some of the host's own molecular machinery.
  • Discovery of liquid directional steering on a bio-inspired surface - Inspired by a kind of tree leaf, scientists discovered that the spreading direction of different liquids deposited on the same surface can be steered, solving a challenge that has remained for over two centuries. This breakthrough could ignite a new wave of using 3D surface structures for intelligent liquid manipulation with profound implications for various scientific and industrial applications, such as fluidics design and heat transfer enhancement.