Self-Digesting Plants = The Ultimate Solution to Biofuel Production from Plant Biomass?

I’m Melting!! Remember the melting witch in The Wizard of Oz? What if corn stalks, for instance, could be induced to “melt” – that is, to go from tough biomass into a sugary puddle? In biochemical terms, it would be the equivalent to the conversion of cellulosic biomass into a…

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Is Sex Necessary?: For Dandelions, Apparently Not.

Send In The Clones Few plants generate such annoyance among suburban homeowners with immaculate lawnscapes as the common dandelion (in North America, most likely Taraxacum officinale). Despite efforts to eradicate them using chemical warfare (see here for info on such herbicides), the dandelions exhibit a remarkable ability to proliferate. And…

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Why Herbicides Kill Plants (But Not You) – Part 2: Roundup®

Roundup® Kills All Plants (Mostly) The herbicide that most Americans are likely familiar with is Roundup®. Unlike the auxin-based herbicides I discussed in the previous post, Roundup® is not a selective herbicide. That is, it usually kills all green plants (except if the plant is Roundup Ready® or if the…

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How a Plant Growth Hormone Predicted by Darwin Shapes Plants

The Power of Movement in Plants Most of a flowering plant’s development and physiology is regulated by plant hormones. The first of these chemical signals to be isolated and characterized was auxin. In the 1930’s, after the initial discovery of auxin by Frits Went in 1928, he, Kenneth Thimann, and…

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Plant “Gibberish” – Hormone (Gibberellin) May Play Critical Roles in Plant Response to Climate Change

What do a fungal disease of rice, dwarf plants, flowering, and beer have in common? Answer: They all may involve the action of the plant hormone gibberellin, a.k.a. gibberellic acid (GA). Let me explain….. This plant hormone was first discovered by Japanese scientists working on a rice disease called bakanae…

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