How Plants Work Greatest Hits – “Top Tweets” of 2021 (Part 4)

3703040265 0b3831659a wFrom Killer Citrus Disease to Driller Plant Roots. 

In this penultimate episode in counting down the top 25 tweets of HowPlantsWork, we go from #10 to #6.

#10 – Researchers find peptide that treats, prevents killer citrus disease

Huanglongbing, HLB, or citrus greening has multiple names, but one ultimate result: bitter and worthless citrus fruits. It has wiped out citrus orchards across the globe, causing billions in annual production losses.

However, new UC Riverside research shows that a naturally occurring peptide found in HLB-tolerant citrus relatives, such as Australian finger lime, can not only kill the bacteria that causes the disease, it can also activate the plant’s own immune system to inhibit new HLB infection.”

#9 – Blushing plants reveal when fungi are growing in their roots

Almost all crop plants form associations with a particular type of fungi – called arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi – in the soil, which greatly expand their root surface area. This mutually beneficial interaction boosts the plant’s ability to take up nutrients that are vital for growth.

“In a study published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers used the bright red pigments of beetroot – called betalains – to visually track soil fungi as they colonised plant roots in a living plant.”

This is the first time this vital, 400 million year old process has been visualised in real time in full root systems of living plants. Understanding the dynamics of plant colonisation by fungi could help to make food production more sustainable in the future.

#8 – Transporter protein regulates root gravitropism in Arabidopsis

Charles Darwin was among the first scientists to investigate root gravitropism in plants. Through simple but elegant experiments, Darwin showed that plant root tips sense gravity and that they transmit the signal to neighboring tissues so that roots bend toward gravity. We now know that the plant hormone auxin plays a key role in this gravitropic response.

RIKEN biologists have now shown that a previously described transporter protein, NPF7.3, regulates auxin responses and root gravitropism in the model plant Arabidopsis.”

#7 – Cereal crops fighting the climate chaos

Agriculture and climate experts have warned for some years that extreme climate events including severe droughts with frequent heatwaves drop the production of major staple food crops like wheat causing a severe threat to food security. Therefore, scientists are looking at grains that can better adapt to these circumstances: An international team, lead by Wolfram Weckwerth from the University of Vienna, has taken a comparative physiological and molecular view on wheat and pearl millet under drought stress, explaining how pearl millet can stand out in this looming climate change chaos better than wheat.”

#6 – A pioneering study: Plant roots act like a drill

Aided by a computational model constructed by cancer researchers studying cancer cells, adapted for use with plant root cells, they were able to demonstrate, for the first time in the world, and at the resolution of a single cell, that the root grows with a screwing motion – just like a drill penetrating a wall.

Next-Time: Finally, find out which were the five most popular tweets of 2021 at HowPlantsWork 

Orange Crush – R.E.M.

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