How a harmful fungus renders its host plant defenseless

The fungus Ustilago maydis attacks corn and can cause significant damage to its host. To do this, it first ensures that the plant offers little resistance to the infection. The surgical precision it applies is shown by a new study from the University of Bonn, which has now been published in the journal New Phytologist. The Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben were also involved in the work.

How calcium ions get into the cellular power stations of plants

Calcium is a very special nutrient. In the cells of most living beings calcium ions function as so-called second messengers to transmit important signals. The same applies equally to animal, plant and fungal cells. Through collaboration of several research institutes at a national and international level members of the “Plant Energy Biology” working group at Münster University, led by Prof. Markus Schwarzländer, and of the team led by Prof. Alex Costa at the University of Milan, have now identified the molecular machinery which enables calcium ions to be taken up into the mitochondria of plant cells – and that this form of transport plays an important role in their response to being touched. The study has now been published in the journal “The Plant Cell”.

How much plastic do soils contain?

Not only in the sea, but also in our soils there is "invisible" plastic - nanoplastics to be precise. This is a problem because it can be absorbed by plants and thus enter the food chain. But how much of such plastic is actually hiding in the soil? To find out, Dr. Melanie Braun from the University of Bonn wants to develop a new method. For her innovative project, the junior scientist has now received the Klaus Töpfer Research Prize worth 50,000 euros, which is awarded internally by the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures" (TRA Sustainable Futures) at the University of Bonn. The prize was named after Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister for the Environment and pioneer of climate policy, who was a guest at the award ceremony.

Protein folding in times of oxygen deficiency

Protein molecules require a defined shape in order to function. When they are created, their building blocks are therefore linked together in a very specific way. Researchers at the University of Bonn are now taking a closer look at a key step in this process and are investigating the effects of transient oxygen starvation on protein folding in plants. Researchers from the University of Münster, the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the University of Bielefeld were also involved in the study. The study has now been published in the journal Plant Cell.

Wulf Amelung is a new member of the Leopoldina

Special distinction for Wulf Amelung: the professor of soil science and soil ecology at the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn and director of the Institute of Agrosphere at Forschungszentrum Jülich has now been admitted to the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences. Amelung is assigned to the Section of Agricultural and Food Sciences.

University of Bonn helps to propagate rare apple type

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is an old English saying that means apples are healthy, so you should eat one every day. A very special specimen is the type "Adams Parmäne", which is currently on the red list of endangered native crops in Germany. The Wiesengut Teaching and Research Station at the University of Bonn is working with pomologist Barbara Bouillon from the "Biologische Station im Rhein-Sieg-Kreis" to preserve this special apple variety. She shows how this can work and why it is so important right now.

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