During drought, plants use a signalling molecule known from animals to limit their water loss. The molecule provides them with a kind of memory of how dry the day was.
Blue is the favourite colour of more people in the world than any other, and the "blue flower" is considered a symbol of romantic longing. In nature, however, there are only a few plant species whose flowers contain blue colour pigments. An international research team led by Bayreuth ecologist Prof. Dr. Anke Jentsch has investigated the reasons for this. One important factor is the great chemical effort required to produce blue dyes, however differing colour perception of pollinators also plays a role. For bees, all the shades of blue assume a more conspicuous share in the colourfulness of flowers than they do for the human eye. The study was published in "Frontiers in Plant Science".
The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and concurrent climate change has led to yield reductions of grass-rich grassland vegetation in the past century. This observation was made by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) who, working jointly with colleagues from Rothamsted (U.K.), conducted a study on the world’s oldest permanent ecological experiment there.
Biennial report of the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich
With this bilingual report (German/English) we not only provide exciting insights into our science and research, but also report on important events in 2018 and 2019.
In an exceptionally broad and elaborate study, biologists from the University of Würzburg investigated the biodiversity of flowering fields planted as part of agri-environmental schemes.
Plants grow in two directions: the shoots of plants grow toward the light to make the best use of it, and the roots grow toward the center of the earth into the soil. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), in collaboration with two research groups in Vienna, has now been able to describe in detail how the molecular mechanisms work that control these processes.
The effects of microplastics on soil quality and the growth of agricultural crops are the focus of a new interdisciplinary research project at the University of Bayreuth. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is part of the "Microplastics" Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1537) established at the University of Bayreuth in 2019.
Optogenetics can be used to activate and study cells in a targeted manner using light. Scientists at the University of Würzburg have now succeeded in transferring this technique to plants.
An unusual project in northern Chad started in January 2021 under the leadership of Dr Tilman Musch, social anthropologist at the University of Bayreuth: In the Tibesti Mountains, an old tradition of horticulture is to be revived and optimised with the instruments of modern sustainable agriculture. In cooperation with gardeners from other oasis cultures in the Sahara, 20 multi-level model gardens will be built in which high-quality food is to be cultivated. Here, date palms, fruit trees, and vegetables and herbs will grow on three levels in the future. The Gerda Henkel Foundation is supporting the initiative for the next two years.
To evaluate the chemical composition of food from a physiological point of view, it is important to know the functions of the receptors that interact with food ingredients. These include receptors for bitter compounds, which first evolved during evolution in bony fishes such as the coelacanth. What 400 million years of evolutionary history reveal about the function of both fish and human bitter receptors was recently published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution by a team of researchers led by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Cologne.