Food, famine and fungi
Ustilago maydis is a fungus that infects maize crops and causes the disease corn smut. In these images you can see the corn smut fungus (green) infecting a maize leaf (red). This infection will cause large plant ‘tumors’ and can eventually result in plant death.
Diseases like this pose a major threat to modern agriculture and therefore understanding fungal plant pathogens is of huge importance.
BBSRC-funded scientists from The University of Exeter hope to understand the complex interplay between this fungal pathogen and its plant host. This knowledge will then help in the development of novel fungicides that can stop crop infection and keep food on our forks.
Images and research from Professor Gero Steinberg at the University of Exeter.
For more information on his research go to: http://bit.ly/1sbhNCo
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The Indian muntjac is also called the “barking deer” due to the barking sound it makes when danger is present.
(via SOUTHERN RED MUNTJAC | Animals Being Adorable (my guilty pleasure) | …)
Human bone cancer (osteosarcoma) showing actin filaments (purple), mitochondria (yellow), and DNA (blue) (63x)
(via Human bone cancer showing actin filaments, mitochondria, and DNA | 2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
Catclaw Sensitive Briar
Cosmarium sp. (desmid) near a Sphagnum sp. leaf (100x)
Desmids are an order of green algae that are single-celled but divided into two compartments by an isthmus.
(via Cosmarium sp. desmid near a Sphagnum sp. leaf | 2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
Some say that the maned wolf’s long legs are an adaptation to running around in long grass.
(via Maned Wolf)
Brittle stars are closely related to starfish. Their arms can be up to 60 cm (24 in) long, and they have specialized nerves on the ends of each arm that can detect light and the presence of certain chemicals.
(via Brittle star | 2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
Cacoxenite (mineral) from La Paloma Mine, Spain (18x) (via Cacoxenite-mineral | 2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
Thin section of a dinosaur bone preserved in clear agate (10x) (via Thin section of a dinosaur bone preserved in clear agate | 2013 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo (20x) (via The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo | 2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World)
The Most Intense Color of Any Living Thing on Earth
Also known as the marble berry, Pollia condensata is a wild plant that grows in the forests of several African countries. The berries are not edible, but they have an extremely rare property. They produce the most intense color of any living thing on Earth. Even after the berries have been picked from the plant, they stay the same shiny, vibrant, metallic blue color for many decades.
The vast majority of colors in the biological world are produced by pigments—compounds produced by a living organism that selectively absorb certain wavelengths of light, so that they appear to be the color of whichever wavelengths they reflect.
However, the marble berry’s skin has no pigment. The berries produce their vibrant blue color through nanoscale-sized cellulose strands that scatter light as they interact with one another. Thus the fruit’s color is even visible at the cellular level as pictured above.
Bright brain cells
The brain cells shown in the images above may play a role in the formation of new memories, and therefore the knowledge gained through studying them could help to diagnose, monitor or treat Alzheimer’s disease.
BBSRC-funded researchers at the University of Leeds have been looking at these brain cells to help them understand the biological events that lead up to people developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Copyright: Danielle John, University of Leeds
For more BBSRC brain cell news visit:
Sticky glands from a Cape sundew
Drosera capensis, or the Cape sundew, is a carnivorous plant covered with sticky tentacles. Insects become trapped in the sap-covered tentacles and activate the plant’s touch response, called thigmotropism. Within thirty minutes, the sundew rolls its leaves towards its center, ensnaring and enveloping its prey in digestive juices.
Image by José R. Almodóvar, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.