Microbes, nitrogen and plant responses to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide

1st July 2016

Plants can grow faster as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase, but only if they have enough nitrogen or partner with fungi that help them get it, according to new research published this week in Science.

The study was led by César Terrer Moreno, a Ph.D. student at Imperial College London, and included researchers from Northern Arizona University, the University of Antwerp (Belgium), Indiana University and New South Wales University (Australia).

Study unlocks surprising behaviour of soil bacteria

1st July 2016

Newly sequenced genomes of soil bacteria have raised questions about how differing land management affects the organisms' behaviour.

UK scientists found one strain locked nitrogen in the soil, while another released a potent greenhouse gas.

The findings came to light after the researchers sequenced Bradyrhizobium, one of the most active and abundant groups of soil bacteria.

Serpentine plants survive harsh soils thanks to borrowed genes

29th June 2016

Scientists from the John Innes Centre have analysed the genomes of plants that grow in harsh, serpentine soils to find out how they survive in such conditions.

It appears that they have used two strategies: adapting to their environment through natural selection that acted on genetic variants which arose locally, as well as by borrowing useful variants from a related plant growing nearby.