What’s New About How Plants Work? – Some “Tasty Tidbits” from 2012 (Tenth Course)

4906550009 dd0ce39010Starting With a Top-Ten List

From the Top Ten fungal bad boys, to super-weeds, to the ancient Romans’ love of orchids, the October 2012 plant science news had a little bit of nearly everything.

  • Here’s a “Ten Most Wanted” list of the leading threats to global agriculture by fungal pathogens.
    Five hundred scientists have created a Top Ten list of plant-damaging fungi.
  • As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to increase, most climate models predict that the world’s oceans and trees will keep soaking up more than half of the extra CO2. But researchers reported last October that the capacity for land plants to absorb more CO2 will be much lower than previously thought.
    Earth’s carbon sink downsized.
  • What have been the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops on pesticide use? A Washington State University scientist has found that at least one impact is the emergence and spread of so-called “super-weeds”.
    Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S.
  • Speaking of the ever-growing problem of “super-weeds”, two Cornell University scientists believe a better approach than using genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops already exists, namely, integrated weed management.
    Scientists aim to sustainably outsmart “super-weeds”.
  • “Turns out the early Romans were wild about orchids. A careful study of ancient artifacts in Italy has pushed back the earliest documented appearance of the showy and highly symbolic flowers in Western art from Renaissance to Roman times. In fact, the researchers say, the orchid’s popularity in public art appeared to wilt with the arrival of Christianity, perhaps because of its associations with sexuality.” from:
    Caesar, the orchid chief – the early Romans were wild about orchids.

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