Entries by MartinT

Spinning Straw into Gold

Every day millions of us hop into their cars and drive off to work, school, or the shops. This has become such a routine part of our lifestyle that few of us stop to think about what we’re using to power those trips, except when the prices hike or, as we’ve seen recently, drop. Most […]

Feeding a growing planet: respiration and ripening

Much of the food that the world produces is never eaten. With a rapidly growing world population, the issue of food waste will be increasingly important over the 21st century. There are many factors that will play a role in cutting down food waste, but understanding the biological processes within the key crops that feed […]

Fighting pollution – how can duckweed help?

Duckweeds look like simple plants: small, green, and with no flowers. But this simplicity makes them ideal experimental organisms for labs, and they are widely used to assess the toxicity of substances that can get into the ponds and rivers where they live. Aquatic toxicity tests are used around the world to determine and monitor […]

How plants can suck water from the sky

How does water travel through a plant? Your answer’s probably a simple one. Water moves from the soil, up through the roots and stems of a plant, through the leaves and out into the surrounding atmosphere. But recent research has shown that our traditional understanding of the movement of water through plants is incomplete. Under […]

Medicinal plants – conifer trees & cancer

Undercover federal agents. Illegal sourcing of drug supplies. An endangered species pushed to the brink of extinction. Not crystal meth today (the endangered species is a bit of a giveaway), but some of the the results of the discovery that certain rare species of Yew trees contain extracts that inhibit cancer cell growth. Luckily, those […]

Extended project ideas: biology and biochemistry

When you’re thinking about possible ideas for your extended project, the choice can seem overwhelming. We’ve put together a selection of ideas for topics to get you thinking, based on a research paper by a group of biologists and biochemists which identified a hundred important questions for research.

Further Study – Universities and Colleges

Biology can take you in many different directions, from the very academic to the very practical – and many jobs that combine the two. You might be in a high-tech lab in the morning, and then spend the afternoon outside. But for a career in biology and related areas, you’ll probably need to do some further study […]

Can C4 photosynthesis save 10,000s of lives?

Rice biologists have a problem. Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population and a combination of population growth and land lost to urbanisation means that by 2050, rice yields have to increase by over 50%. Unfortunately, pushing up rice production has become increasingly difficult. Between 1970 and 1990, rice yield […]

Epigenetics – our hidden inheritance?

We all know about DNA. But now scientists are discovering there’s far more to inheritance. Rooted to the spot, plants cannot run away from problems. Instead, they adjust their growth and metabolism to cope. So, exposed to strong winds, plants grow shorter, broader stems and smaller leaves; or if temperatures approach freezing, many plants synthesise […]