Plants and Pipettes

we talk about plants and (used to) use pipettes

Author: tegan

  • Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me, Plant Edition

    Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me, Plant Edition

    They’ve been described to “…capture the imagination as such behaviors are unexpected in otherwise often quiescent creatures” and to “…turn plants into aggressors against animals, trapping and devouring them”.

    Today, we’re talking about the touch response of plants.… Read more

  • Muriel Howorth and the Atomic Garden

    Muriel Howorth and the Atomic Garden

    In a move that seems almost prescient in understanding the role of mutagenesis in crop improvement and basic biology, a group of ‘Atomic Gardeners’ triumphed the potential for atomic energy to be a force for good, just a few years after the devastation of WWII….… Read more

  • How the Cucumber got its Curve

    How the Cucumber got its Curve

    One of the stupidest arguments of the past years (and oh, there have been some strong contenders!), was the debate about the EU trying to regulate how bendy bananas were. Today we discuss a much more rational question: how the cucumber got its curve.

    Trust us guys, there’s barely any politics in there!… Read more

  • Penguin Poop is Pink

    Penguin Poop is Pink

    Penguin poop, as it turns out is pink.

    And I need you all to know that – despite what several sources might say- the reason it’s pink, isn’t because of the krill (little sea crustaceans) that they eat.… Read more

  • Faking Sick

    Faking Sick

    You may have stared lovingly at a variegated Monstera, asking yourself if there will ever be a day when you can afford such beauty… but have you ever wondered why that beauty even exists? In a study that involves – of all things – white-out (Tipp-Ex), scientists find a link between patterns of white cells of plant leaves, and a desire to avoid herbivores. … Read more

  • When Chloroplasts go GIANT

    When Chloroplasts go GIANT

    In 2007, Chiou-Rong Sheue and colleagues published the discovery of a new type of chloroplast, called the bizonoplast. The bizonoplasts found deep within the cells of the spikemoss Selaginella erythropus was unique among its chloroplast kind in several ways. … Read more

  • Twice As Bright as Sunlight

    Twice As Bright as Sunlight

    In 2013, a new species of algae emerged from the sand crusts of Israel’s Negev desert (or, that is to say, the existence of the species was published).  In an environment where the sunlight beats down with fierce intensity, where temperatures reach 60 degrees on a hot summer’s day yet plunge to subfreezing on winter’s night, and where water comes and goes in quick succession, few species can survive. Yet a mix of desert extremophiles make their home where others would perish. … Read more

  • How to deal with stress

    How to deal with stress

    When plants get stressed it tends to slow them down. Drought stress – one of the most common causes of losses in crop productivity – can result in wilting, reduce growth, and ultimately, death. And the Climate Crisis means that drought risk is already increasing.

    A study by Min May Wong and colleagues, published last year, reveals new key elements that help plants respond to drought, which may have implications for the productivity of plants, in both the good times and the bad.Read more

  • Behold, my brilliant blue fat globules!

    Behold, my brilliant blue fat globules!

    Despite this planet we live on being largely blue, when it comes to plants, we don’t see a lot of the colour. Violets are blue, sure, as are blueberries (it’s right there in the name). But roses are red, and daisies are yellow, and the leafy bits of plants, for the most part – tend to be green. Blue, as it happens, is just not the easiest colour for plants to make. So most of them simply don’t bother.

    But a common mediterannean plant, Viburnum tinus, makes blue fruits that are so vibrant and shiny, that would make Eiffel 65 sit up and listen (da bu dee da bu dai), could induce Australian bower birds to flock from the other side of the world (if only they knew), and could make old Mickey Blue eyes* wonder if he was really so special after all.… Read more

  • Phosphorylation- the Givers and the Takers

    Phosphorylation- the Givers and the Takers

    You’ll often hear that proteins are the ‘doers’ of the cell: DNA stores and passes information across generations, RNA is a messenger middle-man, but protein is where the action’s at.

    Well, let me tell you that this is overly-simplified pro-protein propaganda (although maybe because my heart belongs to RNA). Because while proteins can do things, they often need a bit of help. Just because a protein is ‘there’, doesn’t mean that it’s active. Many proteins need to be literally chaperoned into the right 3-D structure, require other co-factors to do their job (like minerals and pigments), or only work when they’re part of a multi-protein complex.… Read more