Corn growers can choose from a wide array of products to make the most of their crop, but the latest could bring seaweed extract to a field near you. The marine product is just one class in a growing market of crop biostimulants marketed for corn. Biostimulants benefit crops and soil, but the dizzying array of products has farmers confused, according to Fred Below, corn and soybean researcher at the University of Illinois.
Two factors that play a key role in climate change - increased climate warming and elevated ozone levels - appear to have detrimental effects on soybean plant roots, their relationship with symbiotic microorganisms in the soil and the ways the plants sequester carbon.
Combining economics, psychology and studies of fertilizer application, researchers find that plants nearly follow an "equal pay for equal work" rule when giving resources to partner microbes - except when those microbes underperform.
A recent collaboration between scientists in Michigan and Massachusetts as well as South Korea resulted in the development of a novel and broadly applicable molecular assay that used a model fungus to investigate how plant fungal pathogens circumvent the bioactivity of SDHIs. Through this analysis, they were able to successfully validate known mechanisms of fungicide resistance in several agriculturally important fungal pathogens.
The fungi studied by a team of biologists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) for their sexual reproduction strategies are commonly known as Sword-belt Mushrooms. In addition to the European Sword-belt Mushroom (Cyclocybe aegerita), its Pacific relative, the so-called Tawaka (Cyclocybe parasitica), also possesses the unusual ability for agarics to single-handedly form complex multicellular structures for sexual reproduction. These fruiting bodies are normally produced as a collaborative effort between two sexual partners.
A new study from researcher at Whitehead Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a way to more efficiently produce biofuels from woody plant materials such as corn residues and some grasses.
Mythological nymphs reincarnate as a group of corn smut proteins to launch a battle on maize immunity. One of these proteins appears to stand out among its sister Pleiades, much like its namesake character in Greek mythology. The research carried out at GMI - Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences - is published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
A beetle bores a tree trunk to build a gallery in the wood in order to protect its lay. As it digs the tunnel, it spreads ambrosia fungal spores that will feed the larvae. When these bore another tree, the adult beetles will be the transmission vectors of the fungal spores in another habitat. This mutualism among insects and ambrosia fungi could be more than 100 years old, more than what was thought to date.
Oregon State University research has identified the oldest known specimen of a fungus parasitizing an ant, and the fossil also represents a new fungal genus and species.
Climate warming plays a larger role than plant genes in influencing the number and identity of fungal species on oak leaves, especially in autumn. Recently published in the journal New Phytologist, this research by ecologists sheds light on how warming and tree genes affect the dynamics of fungal communities across the season.