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Category Archive for 'Photosynthesis'

From A Pumpkin Movie to Jimi Hendrix Yep, the plant news from last month was quite diverse. Let’s start with two movies – one happens over a time scale of months, and the other happens over a time scale of billionths of seconds. “Over the course of five months in 2014 — from a sprouting […]

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From A New Look At Lichens To A Moss Surprise July 2016 seemed to be a time to rethink several long-held presumptions about lichens and chloroplasts. A couple of plant research news reports changed the way we look at symbiotic plants and photosynthesis. “For over 140 years, lichens have been regarded as a symbiosis between […]

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From Cancer-Fighting Plants To Cadmium-Sniffing Moss Sadly, those who teach classes about plant physiology often feel the need to justify why plants are important. That’s how I usually began the first lecture in my Botany and Plant Physiology courses back in the day when I was boring undergraduate students. Most of these students could appreciate […]

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From Blocking Pollen To Blocking Disease If there was a recurring theme in the March 2016 plant news it may have been plant defense. Defense against foreign genes, defense against herbivores, and defense against disease all made an appearance. “Contamination of organic corn by genetically modified pollen is a major concern for growers, who stand […]

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Out-Of-Control Plants? A couple of reports in the science news a few years ago seemed to suggest that one way to cope with global climate change may be unbridled plant growth. One such report involved the discovery of a cellular regulator for the synthesis of cellulose by plant cells. The other involved plants’ natural responses […]

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We’re In A Jam Let’s face it, humanity is NOT going to back off anytime soon on it’s production of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels. Just last year, for example, atmospheric CO2 emissions increased at their fastest rate for 30 years. So, how are we to respond to the […]

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In the past 250 years the amount of atmospheric CO2 has increased by over 40% (from 270 to 387 ppm), due mainly to human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rising faster than the worst-case scenario postulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC […]

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YES! Here’s How (And Why): Although “Global Warming” is to some people a controversial subject, the one thing that’s not controversial is that the level of atmospheric CO2 has significantly increased in the past 100 years and will likely continue to increase – at least until humans stop burning fossil fuels. OK, so atmospheric CO2 […]

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First, What’s a C4 Plant? I could answer this question here, but instead I’ll refer you to an excellent introduction provided by Dr. Colin Osborne. Or you can read the Wikipedia entry. (I’ll wait until you come back….) OK….now you know that C4 plants – such as the crops maize, sorghum, and sugarcane – add […]

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The world’s most abundant and most important enzyme is RuBisCo. It’s the most abundant because it’s present in relatively large quantities in every photosynthetic organism on the planet – from microscopic cyanobacteria and phytoplankton in the oceans to the leaves of giant-sized trees in the tropics. It’s also the most important enzyme on Earth because […]

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