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

From Seaweed to “Orange” Corn

The menu for our tenth course is probably the most varied so far.

Will we be eating seaweed in the future? And maybe even orange corn?

In between these two plant news items from October 2014, we also sample mushooms, tomatoes and hot chili peppers, and finally we get some dessert from Bill Gates (yes, THAT Bill Gates!).

  • Meet the farm of the future, where common seaweed is being upgraded from an environmental problem to a valuable natural resource and raw material.
    See what you may be eating in the future at: Food, fuel and more will be produced in sea farms of future.
  • Though modern medicine seems the epitome of all that severs our society from the past, it still draws on the same ancient processes of cognition that have always served to keep people alive — and that make us uniquely human.
    Read about how a physician found that identifying wild mushrooms is like diagnosing human diseases at: Learning From Fungi: Of Medicine and Mushrooms.
  • Plant breeders have long identified and cultivated disease-resistant varieties. A research team at the University of California, Riverside has now revealed a new molecular mechanism for resistance and susceptibility to a common fungus that causes wilt in susceptible tomato plants.
    Find out how researchers identified a new process that explains why tomatoes are susceptible to a disease-causing fungus at: To Wilt or Not to Wilt.
  • “…what did it mean that the hottest pepper on earth had a Scoville rating of more than 2 million? How do you quantify the spiciness of a chili pepper?
    How hot are the chili peppers you’re eating? Find out at: Rating Chili Peppers On A Scale Of 1 To Oh Dear God I’m On Fire.
  • Purdue researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a finding that could help combat vitamin A deficiency in developing countries and macular degeneration in the elderly.
    Learn more about this at: Natural gene selection can produce orange corn rich in provitamin A for Africa, U.S..
  • And finally, for some dessert: The Love Life of Plants, courtesy of Bill Gates….

    Next-Time: From plants in space to the secret life of fungi.

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