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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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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HPW Retrospectacles 2018 – August

From How Plants Tell Time To Saving The American Chestnut. Time seemed to be a recurring theme in the plant science news of August 2018…from how plants tell time to how long seeds have to successfully germinate. The future was also a theme…from the future of food production in the…

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Psychedelic Strawberries? – Part Two

Psychedelic Biosynthesis. As noted in the previous post, the psychedelic compound psilocybin, naturally produced by “magic mushrooms“, has recently been biosynthesized “in high yields” in the laboratory via genetic engineering (see Ref. 1 below). By first isolating the genes involved in psilocybin biosynthesis from “magic mushrooms” in the genus Psilocybe,…

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2016 “How Plants Work” News Highlights – September

From Plant Secrets To Plant Antibiotics What were the five most re-tweeted and favorited plant news stories that I shared in September of last year? Well, here they are, in order of popularity, lowest to highest. “Scientists from the John Innes Centre have pioneered innovative new cell imaging techniques to…

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