What’s New About How Plants Work? – “Tasty Tidbits” From 2014 (Ninth Course)

Menu #9: From Caffeine To An Asteroid (Plus “Dessert”)

The plant news “smorgasbord” of September 2014 provided quite a variety “dishes”.

It was difficult to choose only five, but I did manage to include a video “dessert”.

Bon appétit!

  • Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world.” A recent study, published last September, “…sheds light on how plants evolved to make caffeine as a way to control the behavior of animals — and, indirectly, us.”
    Read this fascinating article at: How Caffeine Evolved to Help Plants Survive and Help People Wake Up.
  • A genetically engineered tobacco plant, developed with two genes from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), holds promise for improving the yields of many food crops.
    See how at: Plant engineered for more efficient photosynthesis.
  • Almost everyone is familiar with the smell of a freshly-mowed lawn. “The smell of cut grass in recent years has been identified as the plant’s way of signaling distress, but new research says the aroma also summons beneficial insects to the rescue.
    You probably will never think of a mowed lawn in the same way after you read: Mown grass smell sends SOS for help in resisting insect attacks.
  • Leaf surfaces are wonderful microbial habitats (for example, please see here). Research published last fall “…demonstrates for the first time that host plants from different plant families and with different ecological strategies possess very different microbial communities on their leaves,…
    Learn more at: Research finds each tree species has a bacterial identity.
  • The giant asteroid that most believe resulted in the demise of the dinosaurs also must have affected terrestrial plant communities. Unlike the dinosaurs, plants are still here.
    Find out how plants survived this cataclysm at: A Plant’s Guide to Surviving the Chicxulub Impact.
  • Video Dessert: New plants will no longer have Latin descriptions

    On The Next Menu: Seaweed, mushrooms, tomatoes, chili peppers & orange corn…plus “dessert”.

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