One of the essential nutrients for vigorous crop production is nitrogen. Yet most routine tests done in commercial soil testing labs do not measure available nitrogen in the soil. Soil scientists at The Ohio State University and Cornell University think they have found a solution.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, have shown for the first time that free-living, sap-sucking bugs can manipulate the metabolism of their host plants to create stable, nutritious feeding sites.
New research published in PLOS ONE this week demonstrates dramatic positive benefits for native trees following rat removal at Palmyra Atoll, a magnificent National Wildlife Refuge and natural research laboratory located about 1000 miles south of Hawaii. For five native tree species, including Pisonia grandis, fewer than 150 seedlings were counted in the presence of rats, and more than 7700 seedlings were counted five years after rats were removed.
In a large international study involving almost 900,000 participants, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and COPSAC have found new risk genes for hay fever. It is the largest genetic study so far on this type of allergy, which affects millions of people around the world.
A team at Washington University in St. Louis has created a bacteria that uses photosynthesis to create oxygen during the day, and at night, uses nitrogen to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis. This development could lead to plants that do the same, eliminating the use of some -- or possibly all -- man-made fertilizer, which has a high environmental cost.
Particulate matter deposits on leaves increase plant transpiration and the risk of plants suffering from drought. Particulate matter could thus be contributing more strongly to tree mortality and forest decline than previously assumed. This is suggested by results from a greenhouse study led by the university of Bonn, in which tree seedlings grown in almost particulate matter free air or in unfiltered air were compared. The results are now being published in "Environmental Research Letters".
In plants, it has been clear for a while that maternal signals regulate embryo development. However, the signal itself was unknown -- until now. Plant scientists at IST Austria, CEITEC, and the University of Freiburg have now found that a plant hormone called auxin from the mother is one of the signals that pattern the plant embryo. Their study is published today in Nature Plants.
At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.
The long-term conversion of mangroves to mudflats can lead to destabilization of shorelines, negatively impacting their resilience to extreme weather events. United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have measured surface elevation changes in these mangroves and adjacent mudflats for nearly 20 years.
Scientists have measured the nutritional value of herbivore dinosaurs' diet by growing their food in atmospheric conditions similar to those found roughly 150 million years ago.