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20 news posts in Plants

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27 Sep 2022

Sugary poo could be used to lure destructive plant pests to their doom

By K.E.D. Coan, science writer Aggregation of spotted lanternflies, Lycorma delicatula. Image credit: Jana Shea / Spotted lanternflies send signals with their honeydew excretions, shows a new study. Scientists are researching how this damaging invasive species communicates in order to better manage the pest problem. This research provides knowledge of how these insects find each other, as well as the first evidence to show that these signals appear sex-specific. Spotted lanternflies communicate through their smelly excretions, called honeydew, reports a new study in Frontiers in Insect Science. This invasive species has been impacting crops in the northeastern US, but little is known about how these insects locate each other for reproduction or feeding. According to this latest research, the insects’ honeydew emits several airborne chemicals that attract other lanternflies. Surprisingly, these effects are sex-specific, which may be the first known case of such signals in insects known as planthoppers. “This research is important because the first step to managing any pest is to understand their biology and behavior,” said Dr Miriam Cooperband of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine Division (USDA APHIS PPQ) in the US. “As we learn […]

Image of plant leaf with fungus infection: The finding that anti-cancer drugs help plants fight disease could lead to new treatments for fungal and other plant pathogens: Frontiers in Plant ScienceThe finding that anti-cancer drugs help plants fight disease could lead to new treatments for fungal and other plant pathogens: Frontiers in Plant Science

Featured news

17 Oct 2018

Cancer-fighting drugs also help plants fight disease

The finding could help with efforts to develop disease resistance against fungal infections and other plant pathogens: Frontiers in Plant Science


31 Oct 2016

How your diet can influence your environmental impact

By Hedwig Ens, Frontiers   The impact of our dietary choices on the global phosphorus footprint shouldn’t be neglected, recent research in Frontiers in Nutrition shows.  A shift towards a plant-based diet may be an undervalued solution toward decreasing our environmental impact and attaining phosphorus sustainability. Phosphorus is an element essential for all living beings and is thus critical in food production. Mined phosphate rock is a non-renewable global resource that is nowadays becoming increasingly scarce which poses a severe problem to the farming industry: it needs phosphorus in the form of fertilizers to sustain crop productivity. Crops have two entries into the human food chain: direct consumption or indirect consumption by rearing animals which can be converted to human food. Different food types therefore require different amounts of phosphorus in their production. One kg of phosphorus can for example be used to either produce 3333 kg of starch roots (e.g. potatoes) or 16 kg of beef. The loss of phosphorus to waterways, whether from agricultural fields through runoff or urban sewage through human excreta, can cause severe water quality degradation. This leads to eutrophication, harmful algal blooms, and impairment of our drinking water, recreational areas, and fisheries. As the […]