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Latest Photosynthesis Stories

2012-02-21 15:10:48

Genome analysis of “living fossil” sheds light on the evolution of plants Atmospheric oxygen really took off on our planet about 2.4 billion years ago during the Great Oxygenation Event. At this key juncture of our planet´s evolution, species had either to learn to cope with this poison that was produced by photosynthesizing cyanobacteria or they went extinct. It now seems strange to think that the gas that sustains much of modern life had such a distasteful beginning....

2012-02-16 18:14:40

The evolution of plants and animals generally has been thought to occur through the passing of genes from parent to offspring and genetic modifications that happen along the way. But evolutionary biologists from Brown University and the University of Sheffield have documented another avenue, through the passing of genes from plant to plant between species with only a distant ancestral kinship. How this happened is unclear. But the researchers show that not only did a grouping of grasses...

Pacific Carbon Pump Speeds Up In Summer
2012-02-09 04:44:07

An international team of scientists led by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa oceanographer David Karl has documented a regular, significant and unexpected increase in the amount of particulate matter exported to the deep sea in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. They suspect the previously undocumented phenomenon may be a response to day length, a general phenomenon known as photoperiodism. Measuring the biological carbon pump Using 13 years of...

2012-02-06 11:12:10

Plants leaves are sealed with a gas-tight wax layer to prevent water loss. Plants breathe through microscopic pores called stomata (Greek for mouths) on the surfaces of leaves. Over 40% of the carbon dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere passes through stomata each year, as well a water volume twice that of the whole atmosphere. As the key conduits for CO2 uptake and water evaporation, stomata are critical for both our climate and plant productivity. Thus, not surprisingly, the total number and...

2012-02-03 12:18:11

Barry D. Bruce, professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is turning the term "power plant" on its head. The biochemist and a team of researchers have developed a system that taps into photosynthetic processes to produce efficient and inexpensive energy. Bruce collaborated with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Switzerland to develop a process that improves the...

2012-02-03 09:21:23

Researchers are turning to plants and solar power in the search for new sources of renewable and sustainable energy that can support the transition from rapidly depleting fossil fuels to a bio-based society. An article published by Cell Press in the February 8th issue of Trends in Plant Science discusses innovative strategies for harnessing and re-routing the chemical reactions associated with photosynthesis to efficiently produce highly valuable products. Photosynthesis is a biological...

2012-02-01 01:10:25

A team of researchers led by Michigan State University has discovered an overachieving plant enzyme that works both the day and night shifts. The discovery, featured in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, shows that plants evolved a new function for this enzyme by changing merely one of its protein building blocks. The enzyme, ATP synthase, usually works the day shift, serving as a key player in storing energy created through photosynthesis in the...

2012-01-26 12:55:34

A new study comparing the carbon-holding power of freshwater wetlands has produced measurements suggesting that wetlands in temperate regions are more valuable as carbon sinks than current policies imply, according to researchers. The study compared several wetlands at two Ohio wetland sites: one composed of mostly stagnant water and one characterized by water regularly flowing through it. The study showed that the stagnant wetland had an average carbon storage rate per year that is almost...

2012-01-25 12:42:36

The upsurge in droughts is one of the main consequences of climate change, and affects crops in particular. However, Anabel Robredo, a biologist at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), has confirmed that in the case of barley at least, climate change itself is providing it with self-defence mechanisms to tackle a lack of water. Climate change is in fact also responsible for a considerable increase in the concentration of CO2, a gas that, paradoxically, is providing this plant with...

Molecular 'Culprit' Linked To Rise Of Planetary Oxygen
2012-01-11 04:34:18

A turning point in the history of life occurred 2 to 3 billion years ago with the unprecedented appearance and dramatic rise of molecular oxygen. Now researchers report they have identified an enzyme that was the first — or among the first — to generate molecular oxygen on Earth. The new findings, reported in the journal Structure, build on more than a dozen previous studies that aim to track the molecular evolution of life by looking for evidence of that history in present-day...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'