Plant Detectorists: Part 3 – Using Plants to Detect/Degrade Explosives

“Plants to Uncover Landmines” This was the headline of the news item in Nature magazine in 2004 that first introduced me to the idea of using plants to detect explosives. According to this news article: “A genetically engineered plant that detects landmines in soil by changing colour could prevent thousands…

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Plant Detectorists: Part 2 – Using Plants to Prospect for Gold

There’s Gold (Au) in Them Thar Leaves! (with apologies to M. F. Stephenson) In the previous post, we explored the notion that plants could be used as a sort of “biosensor” to detect the presence of dead bodies. By the way, a “biosensor” may be loosely defined as an analytical…

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Plant Detectorists: Part 1 – Can Plants Be Used To Detect Human Remains?

Pushing Up Daisies? As a former professional plant physiologist (and semi-lapsed plant-related blog-scribbler), I still occasionally peruse the plant literature to see what’s new. In doing so, I sometimes come across an article with a title that certainly piques my curiosity. Such an enticing article, recently published online in Trends…

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HPW Retrospectacles 2018 – November

From “Friendly” Bacteria To Plants In The “Fast-Lane”. A key word in the plant science news of November 2018 appears to be “heat”…from how hot temperatures affects plant genetics to how hot (as in spicy) plants may be used for pain relief. Also featured in last November’s news was how…

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HPW Retrospectacle 2018 – October

From Taller Arctic Plants To GMO Organic Farming. A recurring topic in the plant science news of last October seemed to be “big”, as in Arctic plants may be getting bigger due to a warming climate, or making bigger fruit using genetic engineering. Speaking of GMO’s, the idea of organic…

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The Selfish Plant 3 – Self-Incompatibility and Kin Recognition

When No Really Means No (In Plants) When it comes to sexual reproduction, nearly half of all flowering plant species are self-incompatible. That is, the pollen (male parts of flowers) produced by an individual plant is somehow recognized by the plant and rendered ineffectual in self-fertilizing the ovules (female parts…

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