Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pear rust and Junipers

Pear Rust is an increasingly common fungal disease in pear trees. This disease can significantly slow the growth of a pear tree, and the tree will also give less fruits. Pear Rust is a fungus that cannot stay the whole year on the pear: in winter the tree has no leaves and the fungus is only present there. In winter, the fungus needs a Juniper to overwinter. After the winter the fungus makes spores, which are spread through the air. The spores fall on the pear tree, causing the fungal disease.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Micro skeletons from the sea

Silicoflagellates belong to a small group of marine planktonic organisms with siliceous skeletons composed of opaline rods. Silicoflagellates are both photosynthetic and heterotrophic. The cell size ranges from 20 to 80 μm.

Their internal silica skeletons are composed of a network of bars, and resemble those of radiolarians but are generally much less complex. Silicoflagellate skeletons usually comprise 1-2% of the siliceous component of marine sediments; they are

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Eating corn smut?

Common smut of corn, caused by Ustilago zeae (now known as U. maydis), is easily identified by tumor-like galls that form on actively growing host tissues and contain masses of dark, sooty teliospores.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

How insects breath

The basic insect respiratory system consists of a series of rigid tubes, called tracheae, connected to the outside via pairs of pores called spiracles (typically one pair per segment on the sides of the thorax and abdomen, lacking on certain segments). Air enters the system via the spiracles and the tracheae are air-filled. The spiracles can often be opened and closed and lead into short tracheae that enter a pair of longitudinal tracheal trunks, which are the main tracheal tubes. From these lateral tracheae branch smaller tracheae that supply the tissues with air. This supply is especially rich in the more active tissues, such as muscles, nervous tissues and the gut. Tracheae also extend into the wings, running inside the wing veins.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Escherichia coli are usually blamed

Cystitis, or bladder infection, is the most common urinary tract infection. It occurs in the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra) and nearly always in women. In most cases, the infection is brief and acute and only the surface of the bladder is infected. Deeper layers of the bladder may be harmed if the infection becomes persistent, or chronic, or if the urinary tract is structurally abnormal. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are due to a bacterial infection, most often E. coli. Microscopic examination of the urine sample shows e.g. the presence of white blood cells and bacteria.

Symptoms of lower urinary tract infections usually begin suddenly and may include

Monday, 17 July 2017

Diatoms - Jewels of the Sea

Diatoms are unicellular algae that are found wherever there is water and sufficient light to stimulate photosynthesis. The cells may be free floating (planktonic) or attached to a substratum (sessile). The diatom cell possesses the property of being able to surround itself with a more or less rigid box-like (like a covered petri dish) skeleton of hydrated silica called a frustule. The classification of diatoms is largely based on frustule form and sculpture. Diatoms range greatly in size from 5 – 2000 μm in length, although most species encountered are in the size range 20 – 200μm. 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Medicine in roots and tubers

Around 1600, Dahlia seeds from Mexico were transported for the first time to try them in Europe. In the beginning, there has been little note. Around 1800 there was more life in the brewery and the plant was pulled into bloom in the Botanical Gardens of Madrid. Later, the plant was seeded and grown in the Botanical Gardens of Berlin.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Golden colonial algae

The term colonial as used here applies to algae composed of free-swimming look alike unicells, which form groups that may be large and elaborately interconnected as in Volvox, or smaller and relatively simple as in Synura.

The Synura colonies shown in this video - taken in phase contrast - have ovoid golden-brown cells characteristic of the Chrysophyta, each cell bearing two flagella whose beating propels the colony through the water with a smooth rolling motion.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Yellow, widespread and strong

Xanthoria parietina is a yellowy orange colored leafy lichen that is one of the most common species around. The yellow chemical xanthorin is thought to be produced as a defense against UV radiation to which it is exposed in its normal habitat like cement tiled roofs, exposed twigs and branches etc.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lemnaquatic - A simple strategy for freshwater bioremediation

A report by Leon Werner and Johann Liebeton

In addition to nitrogen and potassium, phosphorus is in the form of phosphate, one of the three main components of fertilizers. Concentrated phosphate rock is a finite resource. Phosphorus cannot be replaced or produced artificially like oil. For this reason, it is essential to establish a sustainable phosphate cycle for a growing world population, which reduces the phosphate loss to a minimum.

Our project has the goal of using duckweeds to bind phosphate and nitrate from surface waters and generate biomass. In this way, the environmental problem of eutrophication is alleviated and simultaneously the sedimentation of the phosphate prevented, which would make recycling impossible. An efficient and sustainable use of biomass is fundamental for meeting the desired energy transition. For this reason, the harvested biomass will be used in biogas plants to generate electricity.