Understanding cooperation and conflict in plant symbionts

The traditional idea of symbiosis—long-term interactions between two organisms—is that the participants mutually benefit each other. However, researchers have debated whether the interests of the symbionts always line ...

Phosphate biosensors could lead to more efficient fertilizer usage

Shiqi Zhang spent many months sitting alone in a dark room, staring intently into the lens of a confocal microscope as she focused a laser beam on plant cells mounted on a glass slide. She was measuring changes in the intensity ...

Tobacco hawkmoths always find the right odor

A research team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology has discovered how tobacco hawkmoths are able to detect odors that are important to them against a complex olfactory background. By looking at the specific ...

Common plant disease found to defend its host against pests

Scientists from University of Turku observed that ergot, a common plant disease on rye, defended its host plant chemically against grass feeding insects. The ergot disease in grains spoils the yield and causes seed loss to ...

Viral proteins join forces to lower plants' defense 'shields'

New research, led by Washington State University scientists, into how viral proteins interact and can be disabled holds promise to help plants defend themselves against viruses—and ultimately prevent crop losses.

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