Pears and other fleshy fruit are commercially stored under low oxygen conditions to extend their storage life for up to 9 months. If the oxygen concentration in the storage atmosphere is too low, quality disorders such as internal browning may result, causing major economic losses. This disorder is known to be related to the complex mechanisms of gas exchange, respiration and fermentation in fruit. However, further conclusions are unavailable due to the lack of reliable methods to measure gas concentrations inside the fruit.
The team, led by Bart Nicolaï, has developed a comprehensive computer model to predict the oxygen concentration inside the pear. The model incorporates equations for gas transport as well as for the respiratory metabolism. The researchers found that extremely low oxygen concentrations can occur in the core of the pear, which eventually may lead to cell death and browning.
While the model was developed for pears, the model is generic. Application to other fleshy fruit and plant organs is straightforward, but the tissue properties and the geometry will need to be measured, Nicolaï says. Further advances require investigation of the internal microstructure of the tissue to explain differences in gas exchange properties and to quantify the cellular and intercellular pathways for gas exchange and the metabolic processes.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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