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Island with the most plant species recorded
01 October 2020
More than 13, 600 plant species are recorded in New Guinea, making it the world’s richest island flora. The survey documented 19 percent more plant species than Madagascar and 22 percent more than Borneo — regions that also rank among the most biodiverse on Earth. More than two thirds of the species are only found on New Guinea. Researcher added that there is still more flora to uncover. It is estimated that over the next 50 years, botanists will add between 3,000 to 4,000 species to the list. Click the title above to read more.
Japanese farmers may benefit from rising global temperatures
07 September 2020
Rising global temperatures have extended the growing season in Southern Japan, making two rice crops possible through a farming technique known as rice rattooning. In this technique, the first crop is harvested, and the stubble allowed to grow back to form a second crop. Researchers found that after harvesting the first crop and cutting the plants at a high height for regrowth as a second crop resulted in 3-fold higher rice yield compared to traditional farming methods.
'Bee' thankful for the bumblebees
02 June 2020
Climate changes results in the disruption of timing between the plants and their pollinators. Researchers from ETH Zurich discovered that bumblebees may help to overcome these challenges by biting leaves of the plants that have not flowered yet, to stimulate the new flower production when pollen is scarce. Click here to read more.
Ancient date palm seeds found and grown after 2,000 years
25 May 2020
Seven date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) have been grown from among hundreds of seeds found in caves and in the ruins of an ancient palace built in the 1st century BC in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. The seeds were radiocarbon dated to be close to 2,000 years of age, making them the oldest seeds ever germinated. The ancient seeds were prepared by soaking them in water, adding hormones that encourage germination and rooting, then planting them in soil in a quarantined area. Click the title above to read more. Genetic analysis showed that several of them came from female date palms that were pollinated by male palms from different areas. This hints that the ancient Judean people cultivated the palms using sophisticated plant breeding techniques, producing the best tasting dates that are popular in the culture and religions of the Middle East and also symbolic of oasis agriculture.
Little Coffee Heroes
03 April 2020
Coffee leaf rust has been a significant challenge for coffee producers since 1980s. Recently, a field research in the lush central mountains of Puerto Rico found that the Asian tramps snails (Bradybaena similaris) prey on the rust. Ironically, these snails are labelled as notorious pests of many crops such as citrus, grapes, legumes and vegetables. However, the presence of the fungal parasite - Lecanicullium lecanii on the affected leaves creates competition, shifting the snails’ focus towards the rust. This preliminary finding is essential to develop a long term solution that manages the snail’s population while suppressing the rust damage on coffee.