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Understanding how algal cells divide when they are hungry Understanding how algal cells divide when they are hungry

A new study delves into how algae manage cell division processes when they suffer from starvation. The finding has implications for biofuel technologies, given that algae have the potential to become a sustainable source of high value oils.

October 8, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Benning lab
Cheryl Kerfeld video interview: A cell with no lipids: what are the odds? [LINK] Cheryl Kerfeld video interview: A cell with no lipids: what are the odds? [LINK]

Cheryl Kerfeld was recently interviewed by the journal BioTechniques. In the video, she discusses bacterial microcompartments and her work on the Proteo Cell Project, an effort to create the first cell without any lipids present.

September 3, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Kerfeld lab
Newly discovered sugar transporter might help beans tolerate hot temperatures Newly discovered sugar transporter might help beans tolerate hot temperatures

The lab of Thomas D. Sharkey have characterized a sucrose transporter protein found in common beans. The recently discovered protein, called PvSUT1.1, could help us understand how beans tolerate hot temperatures.

August 31, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Sharkey lab
Thomas Sharkey receives NSF grant to study isoprene emission from plants Thomas Sharkey receives NSF grant to study isoprene emission from plants

The four-year, $898,946 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Sharkey to continue his research on the evolutionary pattern of the appearance and loss of isoprene emission among various land plants and the impact of these emissions have on the atmosphere.

August 4, 2020 Tags: awards, Sharkey lab
Improving Photosynthesis: The Final Frontier? [LINK] Improving Photosynthesis: The Final Frontier? [LINK]

This long-from article details how our scientists are working to unlock the secrets of photosynthesis, an effort which might spur an agricultural revolution and lead to innovative energy and industrial technologies. The article appears in Futures, a magazine produced twice per year by Michigan State University AgBioResearch.

July 16, 2020 Tags: green solutions, fundamental research
NSF-funded project explores plant metabolism links to climate change, human nutrition NSF-funded project explores plant metabolism links to climate change, human nutrition

MSU plant biologist Berkley Walker is part of a team of scientists that is using a 3-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation  Molecular and Cellular Biosciences award to explore the intersection between photorespiration and one-carbon metabolism, two plant biochemical processes that are critical to plant growth and human nutrition.

July 15, 2020 Tags: awards, Walker lab
Harnessing the power of biology: Scientists 'go the distance' in electron transfer study Harnessing the power of biology: Scientists 'go the distance' in electron transfer study

The work explores how electrons can move across long distances within biomaterials, such as proteins. Understanding the factors that control electron transfer in a biological context is critical to advances in diverse fields, including bioenergy, biosynthesis and disease.

July 6, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Kramer lab, Ducat lab
The diverse ways photosynthesis balances its energy budget The diverse ways photosynthesis balances its energy budget

A new paper reveals how nature has come up with solutions for photosynthetic organisms to safely harvest sunlight. The paper is included as a chapter in a new book, Photosynthesis in Algae: Biochemical and Physiological Mechanisms, published by Springer.

June 24, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Kanazawa
DOE renews funding for innovative photosynthesis research at MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory DOE renews funding for innovative photosynthesis research at MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Michigan State University-DOE Plant Research Laboratory a three-year (2020-2023), $11.25 million DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences competitive renewal grant to continue its innovative photosynthesis research.

May 29, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, awards
New method tracks cyanobacteria photosynthetic productivity, in real time New method tracks cyanobacteria photosynthetic productivity, in real time

Scientists have established a new method to quantify how much cyanobacteria assimilate carbon in the process of photosynthesis. The method assesses carbon assimilation over a stretch of time. It also better factors in a wider range of environmental variables, such as changing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels or varying light intensities.

May 26, 2020 Tags: Montgomery lab, fundamental research
First-Person Science: Christoph Benning on Plant Biochemistry [LINK] First-Person Science: Christoph Benning on Plant Biochemistry [LINK]

Benning is featured on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's 'First-Person Science' series, where scientists describe how they made significant discoveries over years of research. 

May 12, 2020 Tags: Benning lab
MSU researchers receive grant to continue studying pathogen resistance in plants MSU researchers receive grant to continue studying pathogen resistance in plants

The grant to Brad Day and Sheng Yang He will fund research examining plant responses to environmental threats and an outreach program designed to educate the general public on plant research.

April 24, 2020 Tags: awards, He lab
Plants control microbiome diversity inside leaves to promote health [VIDEO] Plants control microbiome diversity inside leaves to promote health [VIDEO]

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, the lab of Sheng Yang He shows how plant genes select which microbes get to live inside their leaves in order stay healthy. This is the first study to show a causal relationship between plant health and assembly of the microbial community in the phyllosphere.

April 9, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, He lab
A common metabolic currency tunes growth-defense balance in plants A common metabolic currency tunes growth-defense balance in plants

In plants, elevated defense tends to inhibit plant growth. New research suggests plants have a metabolism-sensing mechanism that may mediate between growth and defense functions.

April 7, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Howe lab
How plants tune their greenness to light quality in their surroundings How plants tune their greenness to light quality in their surroundings

New research is refining our understanding of how light wavelengths impact how plants develop their chloroplasts.

March 5, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Montgomery lab
Plant protein helps control both chloroplast's chemistry and lipid membrane Plant protein helps control both chloroplast's chemistry and lipid membrane

The protein, peroxiredoxin Q, is known to maintain a healthy balance of chemicals and energy levels in chloroplasts. The new research shows the protein also impacts the system that produces chloroplast membranes.

February 18, 2020 Tags: Benning lab, fundamental research
Leaf under attack from bacteria? One way plants stop the spread of infection Leaf under attack from bacteria? One way plants stop the spread of infection

The CAMTA system - which is known to protect plants from cold weather - plays a newly discovered role: when bacteria invade a leaf, CAMTA warns neighboring, unaffected leaves to prepare for invasion.

February 11, 2020 Tags: Thomashow lab, fundamental research
A protein lulls algae to 'sleep', and what that means for making green fuels A protein lulls algae to 'sleep', and what that means for making green fuels

When algae get stressed, they hibernate and store energy in forms that we can use to make biofuels. Understanding how stress impacts algal hibernation could help scientists lower the cost of biofuels production.

February 3, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Benning lab
Insect bites + Warmer climate = Double trouble for plants [VIDEO] Insect bites + Warmer climate = Double trouble for plants [VIDEO]

Recent models are telling us that, as our climate warms up, pests will cause more damage to crops. But these models do not factor how infested plants react to rising temperatures. If we do, plants may suffer a worse fate.

January 20, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Howe lab
Taming electrons with bacteria parts and a little 'blood' - a new synthetic biology system [VIDEO] Taming electrons with bacteria parts and a little 'blood' - a new synthetic biology system [VIDEO]

When electrons move, they are the electricity that powers life. But they are hard to pin down. The newly engineered system could guide electron transfer over long distances, powering future applications in medicine or 'green' fuel production.

January 15, 2020 Tags: green solutions, Ducat lab

Top Stories

Why this promising biofuel crop takes a summer break Why this promising biofuel crop takes a summer break

By explaining a photosynthetic peculiarity in switchgrass, MSU researchers from the Walker lab may have unlocked even more of the plant’s potential.

Untying molecular knots: Making molecular simulations more efficient with LongBondEliminator Untying molecular knots: Making molecular simulations more efficient with LongBondEliminator

Researchers from the Vermaas lab created a more efficient tool to solve the problem of ring piercings in molecular simulations. This work is published in Biomolecules.

From colleagues to collaborators, a cross-department conversation links statistics to plant science From colleagues to collaborators, a cross-department conversation links statistics to plant science

Complicated sets of biological data can be challenging to extrapolate meaningful information from. Wanting to find a better way to look at this data led Berkley Walker, assistant professor at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, to team up with statistician and Assistant Professor Chih-Li Sung from the Department of Statistics and Probability.