Plant Biology

Plant Biology refers to the biological science of multicellular eukaryotes, also known as Plant Science.

  • Blattläuse als Bio-Sensoren

    Haben Pflanzen eine Art Nervensystem? Das ist nicht leicht herauszufinden, weil es keine guten Messmethoden gibt. Würzburger Pflanzenforscher nahmen dafür Blattläuse – und entdeckten, dass Pflanzen auf verschiedene Schädigungen jeweils anders reagieren.

  • Energy Flow in the Nano Range

    Energy transport in biomimetic nanotubes (left) and a three-dimensional spectrum (right). Bjoern Kriete (l.) / Stefan Mueller (r.)

    It is crucial for photovoltaics and other technical applications, how efficiently energy spreads in a small volume. With new methods, the path of energy in the nanometer range can now be followed precisely. Plants and bacteria lead the way: They can capture the energy of sunlight with light-harvesting antennas and transfer it to a reaction centre. Transporting energy efficiently and in a targeted fashion in a minimum of space – this is also of interest to mankind. If scientists were to master it perfectly, they could significantly improve photovoltaics and optoelectronics.

  • Helpers for energy acquisition from plants

    Investigated the chloroplasts of Arabidopsis thaliana: Barbara Kalisch and Prof. Peter Dörmann of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology of Plants at Universität Bonn. © Photo: Barbara Frommann / University of Bonn

    Research into plant cells is far from complete. Scientists under the biochemist Professor Peter Dörmann at Universität Bonn have now succeeded in describing the function of chloroplasts in more detail. These are plant and algal cell structures that are responsible for photosynthesis. The results have now been published in the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA" (PNAS).

  • Monsanto takeover a “major challenge” for Bayer

    Bayer takes over Monsanto. © Nanobay

    Lars Schweizer, Professor for Strategic Management at Goethe University Frankfurt, calls the planned takeover of Monsanto by German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer a major challenge.

  • Natural Nanofibres Made of Cellulose

    Through contact with water, the seed of Neopallasia pectinata from the family of composite plants forms a slimy sheath. The white cellulose fibres anchor it to the seed surface. © Kreitschitz


    The seeds of some plants such as basil, watercress or plantain form a mucous envelope as soon as they come into contact with water. This cover consists of cellulose in particular, which is an important structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, and swelling pectins, plant polysaccharides. In order to be able to investigate its physical properties, a research team from the Zoological Institute at Kiel University (CAU) used a special drying method, which gently removes the water from the cellulosic mucous sheath. The team discovered that this method can produce extremely strong nanofibres from natural cellulose. In future, they could be especially interesting for applications in biomedicine. The team’s results recently appeared as the cover story in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces.

  • Nature communications: From the plant to the microreactor

    Carnosic acid is still obtained from rosemary. However, biotechnological production processes could be developed soon. Picture: IPB

    Scientists at the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle/Saale (Germany) have fully elucidated the biosynthesis of carnosic acid. This discovery allowed the plant researchers around Prof. Alain Tissier to produce the economically valuable plant material by biotechnological means in yeast cells. The project was published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.

  • Photovoltaik nach dem Vorbild der Rose

    Photovoltaik nach dem Vorbild der Rose | Biomimetik: Die Epidermis eines Rosenblütenblatts wird in einer transparenten Schicht nachgebildet; diese wird in die Vorderseite einer Solarzelle integriert. Abbildung: Guillaume Gomard, KIT

    Mit einer Oberfläche wie bei Pflanzen können Solarzellen mehr Licht aufnehmen und damit mehr Strom erzeugen. Forscher des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT) reproduzierten die epidermalen Zellen von Rosenblütenblättern, die eine besonders starke Antireflexwirkung besitzen, und integrierten die transparente Nachbildung in eine organische Solarzelle. Dies führte zu einer relativen Erhöhung der Effizienz von zwölf Prozent. Darüber berichten die Wissenschaftler in der Zeitschrift Advanced Optical Materials (DOI: 10.1002/adom.201600046).

  • Reduced ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations

    Oil palm plantation on Sumatra, Indonesia. There, scientists of Göttingen University and the UFZ investigate the consequences of the conversion of lowland rainforests into oil palm plantations.  Photo: Patrick Diaz

    An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Göttingen, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig and Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia has now performed a complete and multidisciplinary assessment of all ecosystem functions in oil palm plantations as compared to lowland forests. They found that in oil palm plantations, eleven out of 14 ecosystem functions showed a net decrease, some with an irreversible global impact.

  • Researchers image roots in the ground

    Maximilian Weigand (left) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Kemna of the University of Bonn use electrical impedance tomography to visualize the root activity of plants. © Photo: Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn

    It's a familiar hazard of vacation time: While you're conspicuously absent, your colleagues in the office forget to water and fertilize the plants – often leaving behind nothing but a brownish skeleton. Whether a plant thrives or wastes away depends above all on whether its roots get enough water and nutrients. Geophysicists at the University of Bonn have now visualized such processes for the first time using electrical impedance tomography. The researchers have now published their results in the scientific journal "Biogeosciences".

  • Specialized Plant Cells Regain Stem-cell Features to Heal Wounds

    A root tip consists of constantly dividing cells of specific types which originate from a few stem cells in the stem cell niche located in the very tip of the root (white cells). IST Austria/Lukas Hörmayer

    Already specified root cells are reprogrammed to correctly replace dead neighbor cells in newly discovered process of “restorative patterning” | Study published in Cell

    If plants are injured, cells adjacent to the wound fill the gaps with their daughter cells. However, which cells divide to do the healing and how they manage to produce cells that match the cell type of the missing tissue has been unclear. Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have now shown that to correctly replace dead cells, neighbors to the inside of the wound re-activate their stem cell programs.

  • Tropical rivers breathe carbon

    A branch of the Congo River in the Congo Basin. The area is not, as once thought, completely covered by rain forest, but consists partially of swamp forests.  Credit: Jordon Hemingway, WHOI

    New study reveals previously underestimated carbon source

  • Wurzelsymbiose - Enge Freundschaft mit Kontrolle

    Die Symbiose mit Mykorrhiza-Pilzen verschafft Pflanzen einen besseren Zugang zu knappen Ressourcen. LMU-Forscher haben nun einen Mechanismus entdeckt, mit dem die Pflanze möglicherweise steuern kann, wie eng die Symbiose ist.