Millions of bats in North America have been wiped out by the disease white-nose syndrome caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, and scientists worry that a catastrophic reduction in the bat population will have pervasive ecological repercussions. Now, a new study in mBio shines light on where the fungus came from and how it spreads.
Molecular biologists Gdanetz and Trail of Michigan State University conducted a novel study on the microbial composition of wheat leaves, stems, and roots under four management strategies: conventional, no-till, organic, and reduced chemical inputs. They took 200-plus samples from each of 24 test plots, using DNA sequencing and culture collections to identify microbial communities, isolate potential strains of pathogen-resistant fungi, and ascertain the influence of management strategies on these communities. Learn more about their findings.
The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior has the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms.
You may not find them in the produce aisle yet, but it's only a matter of time before new disease-resistant apple cultivars overtake favorites like Honeycrisp in popularity, according to a University of Illinois apple expert.
The occurrence of stem end rot (SER) during storage means major losses for mango fruit growers and suppliers. In a recent Phytobiomes journal article, Diskin and colleagues show promising new research that explores sunlight's role in cultivating a beneficial mix of microorganisms that help mitigate SER. The research, discussed through their article titled, 'Microbiome Alterations Are Correlated with Occurrence of Postharvest Stem-End Rot in Mango Fruit,' offers a detailed account of their study.
Three species of non-photosynthetic plants rely mainly on camel crickets to disperse their seeds, according to new research from Project Associate Professor Suetsugu Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science). These findings were published on Nov. 9 in the online edition of New Phytologist.
A team of researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the O'ahu Army Natural Resources Program transplanted microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide.
A fungal parasite that infects ants and manipulates their behavior to benefit the fungus' reproduction accomplishes this feat without infecting the ants' brains, according to a study led by Penn State researchers.
The Mediterranean black truffle, one of the world's most expensive ingredients, has been successfully cultivated in the UK, as climate change threatens its native habitat.
Researchers have identified a wild yeast that is more effective at preventing common grape molds than a pesticide, suggesting that it could be an eco-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides. The researchers discovered that wild grapes host a huge array of yeasts that can inhibit common grape molds, while they found a smaller number of effective yeasts on farmed grapes.