Plant & zo

The science of plants and more

Plants, maybe just hearing the word makes your hart beat quicker. Maybe not, up to now you just viewed plants as decorations. Not inconceivable. But plants are so much more. They are essential for us. They give us the oxygen we breathe. Give us the food we eat. Plants extremely interestingly even without knowing this. Did you know plants can do calculus? That they can detect nutrients, and grow actively towards them? That they use insects, not only for pollinating their flowers, but also as defence against other insects? Here you will read about this and more. About the ingenuity of plants, the discoveries about this made by researchers, and how plants actual do all those things.

Latest Blogs

Old leaves first

Old leaves first Sometimes it rains a lot, or there is a flooding, and before you know it a plant is submerged. Not the end of the world, as long as it doesn’t last long. But when it does, then one by one the leaves of the plant will die. Starting with the oldest. DutchContinue reading “Old leaves first”

Don’t touch me

Don’t touch me Plants are most often not recognised for their speed. Their reaction is often hardly visible with the naked eye, to see them moving you really need some patience. But as always there are some exceptions. Those that react quickly. To catch insects. Or to scare them away. They do that without aContinue reading “Don’t touch me”

New leads

New leads Sometimes you will need new leads. Like for the question how the signal from mechanosensitive channels is transferred to the rest of the plant. A research group from the US went searching for those new leads to answer this question. Mechanosensitive channels are membrane proteins which let through a signal after the membraneContinue reading “New leads”

Only welcome during shortage

Only welcome during shortage One of the plants challenges is to find enough nutrients for growth. Especially finding enough nitrogen and phosphate can be challenging. A plant needs a lot of these building blocks. But working together with fungi and bacteria can help to acquire more nitrogen or phosphate. But this partnership comes with aContinue reading “Only welcome during shortage”

Juvenile roots

Juvenile roots Plants, just like humans, go through different life stages. After germination they start off as a seedling, and subsequently grow into a mature plant which, when the circumstances are right, flowers and forms seeds. These phases are good to distinguish for the above ground part of the plant. And we know how aContinue reading “Juvenile roots”

Shape shifting RNA

Shape shifting RNA For lots of plants it is important to know when it is winter, and when winter is gone. They adjust their growth accordingly. Plants, for example, often flower only after they have gone through a period of cold. We know lost about how plants are regulating this. But how plants perceive coldContinue reading “Shape shifting RNA”

Manipulative intruders

Manipulative intruders Pathogens are shrewd operators while entering a plant and stealing its nutrients. They use proteins that manipulate the plant, preventing it from noticing the intruders. Most of them work hard to repress the plant’s immune response. So that it cannot raise the alarm. But this turned out not to be true for theContinue reading “Manipulative intruders”

Selecting fungi

Selecting fungi We all carry our own micro-organisms with us, plants also. The communities that these micro-organisms form contribute to keeping the plant healthy. For example, micro-organisms can collaborate with a plant, exchanging nutrients for sugars, helping the plant grow. Or micro-organisms can produce substances that make the plant less attractive for herbivores. And theyContinue reading “Selecting fungi”

How to do both

How to do both Sometimes there are things by which you think; how? So are there for example gen-on switches in plants that turns on a gene when there are only few of them but turn off the same gene when they are with many. Contradictory you would say. The logical expectation would be thatContinue reading “How to do both”

Fast Breeding

Fast Breeding Crops that can survive the heat, and drought. That are nutritious, but also resistant against pests and diseases. A whole list of wishes. Preferably ready by today, and if that is not possible then by tomorrow, but no later. Hooked as we are to the quick fulfilment of our desires and wishes. ForgettingContinue reading “Fast Breeding”

From day to night

From day to night Licht and dark, regulate a plants growth and development. Day and night, each bringing their own set of regulators. But the transition goes gradually from the day to the night shift. Just like how the dark is slowly consuming the light at the start of the night. The important regulator ofContinue reading From day to night

Finding balance

Finding balance Miraculous, when you start thinking about it. Each plant, from the tiniest tot the gigantic, grow from their growth regions. Small groups of cells with as main goal: slowly dividing and no specialisation. By each division these cells place their daughter cells outside their group. These then divide a few more times andContinue reading Finding balance

Defying gravity

Defying gravity Roots, for a plant how the grow is life shaping. Straight down, for groundwater uptake. Or maybe sideways, for phosphate uptake. To regulate this precisely is crucial. Plants use gravity for growing downwards. About this lots is already known. But growing sideways, against gravity, that is more of a mystery. To find outContinue reading Defying gravity

Light on: Go

Light on: Go Water is an essential part of photosynthesis, the reaction that makes energy for plants. To get the water to the reaction, veins are essential. These pipelines transport the water form the roots to the light. As the water needs to get to the light, light influences the placement of these veins. Consequently,Continue reading “Light on: Go”

Compact soil protocol

Compact soil protocol For good rooting a not to close packed soil is a must for plants. When the ground is to compact it costs the roots more effort to find a way through. In agriculture, this is increasingly a problem. Here, intensive use of the ground results in compact soils. More difficult to accessContinue reading “Compact soil protocol”

Fruit development

Fruit development Strawberries, apples, pears, bananas, but also cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins, are all fruits. All protecting their seeds and distributing them. Because we, and animals are picking them, taking, and eating them. There are also countless seedless fruits. Bred specially for us. But we actually don’t know how this is possible. The developmentContinue reading “Fruit development”

Excel through collaboration

Excel through collaboration Fungi, we see them mostly as the mushrooms that stick their heads above the ground in autumn. But underground there are whole networks of them. Plants make good use of those. They collaborate with Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Exchanging sugars for nutrients. And are so able to excel during difficult times. Not onlyContinue reading “Excel through collaboration”

Shooting seeds

Shooting seeds Plants have different strategies to spread their seeds. There are those that use animals, with the seeds traveling in the fur or stomach of the animal. Then there are those that trust the wind to disperse their seeds. A third group of plants spreads them all by themselves. They shoot their seeds asContinue reading “Shooting seeds”

Pausing growth

Pausing growth Just like ours, the environment of plants is in flux, changing constantly. There can be a drought, or a shortage of nutrients. To survive, plants adjust their growth. By shortage of water a plant will grow little to none. Only to start growing again after rain has fallen. For long it was notContinue reading “Pausing growth”

Relay messengers

Relay messengers A fast response is needed when pathogenic bacteria or fungi enters a plant. Then the plant can try to actively stop this intruder, starting an immune reaction. For this, the recogniser sends a message to the whole cell, who in turn forwards it to the whole plant. Like a relay. Although most ofContinue reading “Relay messengers”


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