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Plants

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

Researchers have discovered conditions that would allow plants to grow quickly in optimal ...

There's a conundrum of growing food in outer space: the same optimal conditions that create quick plant growth also leaves them missing a nutrient that protects human eyes from radiation, such as astronauts experience. However, scientists under the direction of Barbara Demmig-Adams at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a method of using bright pulses of light to trick plants into producing more zeaxanthin, which humans cannot produce on their own but is essential for long-term eye health and visual acuity.  Read More

Scientists are working on a biofuel-producing strain of sugarcane  (Photo: Shutterstock)

Sugarcane grows like crazy, so if it could be used as a source of biofuel, well ... not only might it produce higher yields than other crops, but it could conceivably do so using less land. With that in mind, scientists from the University of Illinois are creating a strain of the plant that produces more oil, gets more energy from the sun, and can be grown in colder climates.  Read More

The PPlanter in use, by a person and a bamboo plant

If you live in a big city, then there are doubtless alleyways or alcoves you know of that always smell like pee. While it might help to install public urinals in these places, doing so involves a lot of work and expense. Porta Potties are one alternative, although Oakland, California-based Hyphae Design Laboratory has developed a more eco-friendly solution known as the PPlanter. It's a self-contained modular system, that uses bamboo to process the pee.  Read More

The Salicornia is one species of halophyte that is a promising feedstock for biofuel produ...

Whenever the topic of plant-derived biofuels is raised, the issue of turning valuable arable land over to the task of growing feedstock is generally not far behind. A discovery by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SRBC) that desert plants fed by seawater can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks could help alleviate such concerns.  Read More

The PLEASED project aims to turn plants into environmental biosensors (Image: Shutterstock...

Many claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster. But what if the plants could talk back? That’s what the EU-funded PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices (PLEASED) project is hoping to achieve by creating plant cyborgs, or "plant-borgs." While this technology won't allow green thumbs to carry on a conversation with their plants, it will provide feedback on their environment by enabling the plants to act as biosensors.  Read More

The addition of a planted facade to the building is expect to increase its thermal insulat...

A vertical garden covering 1492m2 has been created in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The garden, which adorns the the Palacio de Congresos Europa (Palace of Congresses Europe) and incorporates over 33,000 individual plants, was designed by Alicante-based sustainable architecture firm Urbanarbolismo.  Read More

A modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression protei...

Researchers have discovered a new way to increase plant growth by suppressing the natural response to environmental stress. The scientists have found a modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression proteins independently of the previously identified hormone Gibberellin. They believe this will lead to higher crop yields, even in unfavorable conditions.  Read More

Bioglow's Starlight Avatar plants emit faint light similar in intensity to starlight – hen...

Ever thought the glowing forests from the movie Avatar were pretty cool and wanted one yourself? Bioglow is the latest company to attempt to put such autoluminscent plants in homes with its aptly named Starlight Avatar.  Read More

RUB researchers have developed a bio-based solar cell using cyanobacteria found in hot spr...

Researchers at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have created a bio-based solar cell capable of generating a continuous electrical current of several nanowatts per sq cm. The new approach avoids damage to the tapped photosynthetic cells, an issue that has plagued previous attempts to harness nature's "power plant."  Read More

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