Biochar stimulates more plant growth but less plant defense, research shows

In the first study of its kind, research undertaken at the University of Southampton has cast significant doubt over the use of biochar to alleviate climate change.Biochar is produced when wood is combusted at high temperatures to make bio-oil and has been proposed as a method of geoengineering. When buried in the soil, this carbon rich substance could potentially lock-up carbon and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The global potential of biochar is considered to be large, with up to 12 percent of emissions reduced by biochar soil application.Many previous reports have shown that biochar can also stimulate crop growth and yield, providing a valuable co-benefit when the soil is treated with biochar, but the mechanism enabling this to happen is unknown.Professor Gail Taylor, Director of Research at the University’s Centre for Biological Sciences and research colleagues, in collaboration with National Research Council (CNR) scientists in Italy and The James Hutton Institute in Scotland, have provided an explanation why biochar has this impact. They have published their findings in the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy.They found that when thale cress and lettuce plants were subjected to increasing amounts of biochar mixed with soil, using the equivalent of up to 50 tonnes per hectare per year, if applied in the field, plant growth was stimulated by over 100 percent. For the first time, the response of more than 10,000 genes was followed simultaneously, which identified brassinosteroids and auxins and their signalling molecules as key to the growth stimulation observed in biochar. Brassinosteroids and auxins are two growth promoting plant hormones and the study goes further in showing that their signalling molecules were also stimulated by biochar application.However, the positive impacts of biochar were coupled with negative findings for a suite of genes that are known to determine the ability of a plant to withstand attack from pests and pathogens. These defence genes were consistently reduced following biochar application to the soil, for example jasmonic and salcyclic acid and ethylene, suggesting that crops grown on biochar may be more susceptible to attack by pests and pathogens.This was a surprising finding and suggests that if reproduced in the field at larger scales, could have wide implications for the use of biochar on commercial crops.Professor Taylor, who co-ordinated the research, says: “Our findings provide the very first insight into how biochar stimulates plant growth — we now know that cell expansion is stimulated in roots and leaves alike and this appears to be the consequence of a complex signalling network that is focussed around two plant growth hormones. However, the finding for plant defence genes was entirely unpredicted and could have serious consequences for the commercial development and deployment of biochar in future. Any risk to agriculture is likely to prevent wide scale use of biochar and we now need to see which pest and pathogens are sensitive to the gene expression changes..”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Banana bread is a classic and a great way to use over-ripe bananas.However, most banana bread recipes call for white flour, a fair amount of sugar and lack much nutrition other than ALL the carbs!But, banana bread is delicious, so what’s a girl or guy to do when they have brown banana’s and a hankering for delicious banana bread?THIS!Instead of a traditional recipe, why not make this delicious, protein packed, whole wheat version of the bread that’s really a dessert staple.Here’s What You’ll Need(For Bread)1 1/2 scoops chocolate protein powder 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 2 ripe bananas, mashed 2 egg whites 2 tbsp vanilla greek yogurt 1/3 cup oats Optional: 1/3 cup chocolate chips (if you want it really chocolatey – I …

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Cell growth discovery has implications for targeting cancer

Oct. 11, 2013 — The way cells divide to form new cells — to support growth, to repair damaged tissues, or simply to maintain our healthy adult functioning — is controlled in previously unsuspected ways UC San Francisco researchers have discovered. The findings, they said, may lead to new ways to fight cancer.The steps leading a quiet cell to make and divvy up new parts to form daughter cells rely on some of the cell’s most complex molecular machines. Different machines play key roles at different stages of this cell cycle. Each of these cellular machines consists of many proteins assembled into a functioning whole. They carry out such tasks as repairing DNA in the newly replicated gene-bearing chromosomes, for instance, or helping pull the chromosomes apart so that they can be allocated to daughter cells.In a study published online on October 10, 2013 in the journal Molecular Cell, UCSF researchers led by molecular biologist Davide Ruggero, PhD, associate professor of urology, and computational biologist Barry Taylor, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, found that the production of entire sets of proteins that work together to perform such crucial tasks is ramped up together, all at once — not due to the transcription of genes into messenger RNA, a phenomenon scientists often study to sort out cellular controls — but at a later stage of gene expression that occurs within the cell’s protein-making factories, called ribosomes.”We have found that these proteins are regulated specifically and exquisitely during the cell cycle,” Ruggero said. When this regulation falters, it wreaks havoc in the cell, he added. “Cell-cycle control is a process that is most often misregulated in human disease,” he said.More specifically, the researchers found that this coordinated timing of protein production during the cell cycle is largely governed at the tail end of gene expression, within the ribosome, where cellular machinery acts on messenger RNA to churn out the chains of amino acids that eventually fold into functional form as proteins.In 2010 Ruggero reported key evidence suggesting that this stage of protein production, called “translation,” might be an often-neglected process in many tumors, ranging from lymphomas, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer.In the new study, the researchers examined translation of messenger RNA into protein at the classic phases of the cell cycle, before the cell actually divides. These are the G1 phase, when cells grow and make lots of proteins before replicating their DNA; the S phase, when cells replicate their DNA; and the G2 phase, when cells make internal components known as organelles, which they divvy up along with the chromosomes when the cell actually divides during mitosis.The scientists used a technique know as ribosome profiling, originally developed for yeast cells in the lab of Jonathan Weismann, PhD, Howard Hughes Investigator at UCSF and professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology, to figure out which messenger RNA was being translated into protein by the ribosome during human cell division. They then used computational techniques developed by Taylor’s lab team along with the lab team of Adam Olshen, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, to better quantify which genes had been translated into proteins.By conducting a genome-wide investigation of translation and interrogating the data with sophisticated computer algorithms, the researchers discovered that different groups of protein were made in abundance at a particular phase, only to be quieted during another phase of the cell cycle. …

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Broadwalk Dental Practice forced to compensate patient

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Broadwalk Dental Practice forced to compensate patientBroadwalk Dental Practice forced to compensate patientA former resident of Buxton has been awarded £22,000 in compensation from Broadwalk Dental Practice, which offered her extremely substandard care over a number of years.Dr Allan Clark’s negligence meant 40-year-old Sarah Taylor has to undergo extensive corrective treatment, including bridges, crowns, dentures and root canal treatments.She told the Derbyshire Times Dr Clark’s poor dentistry also led to her losing eight teeth and suffering a number of painful bouts of dental infection.The local woman first visited the practice in 1993, when she had bad toothache on the left side of her mouth. While this should have been a simple procedure, it turned out to be only the start of Ms Taylor’s dental problems.Having been given two fillings by the dentist, she was forced to return just days later suffering from a toothache even more severe than her previous one.”Dr Clark removed one of the teeth he had just filled, which was absolutely mortifying. We had not discussed a tooth extraction at any point and he had gone ahead without my prior knowledge or consent. It was all downhill from there,” she told the newspaper.Ms Taylor visited the practice a staggering 39 times over the next 16 years, receiving her final treatment in December 2009.After relocating to Peterborough, she signed up with a new dentist, who immediately told her about the poor condition of her teeth and suggested she undertake corrective measures to amend them.Five of them were beyond repair and had to be removed, while Ms Taylor also needs to wear a permanent bridge because of the difficulties brought about by Dr Clark’s sub-par dentistry.”I trusted Dr Clark implicitly and he has ruined my teeth. The whole experience has been unbelievably stressful. What he did was not right,” said the patient.Neither the doctor or the practice commented on the case – Dr Clark did not admit liability and has since retired from the profession.Or call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Paul Root Wolpe: It’s time to question bio-engineering At TEDxPeachtree, bioethicist Paul Root Wolpe describes an astonishing series of recent bio-engineering experiments, from hybrid pets to mice that grow human ears. He asks: isn’t it time to set some ground rules?TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of …

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