An antioxidant, a type of compound that prevents certain types of damage to living cells, appears to allow some kinds of plants to thrive on metal-enriched soils that typically kill other plants, says a Purdue University scientist.
This finding, published in the current issue of The Plant Cell, provides an important new insight for the development of plants that could be used to help clean polluted sites. The work also answers a fundamental question for researchers studying how certain types of plants tolerate levels of metals in their tissues that are toxic to most other plants. "We were able to clearly establish for the first time that plants that create and accumulate high cellular levels of the antioxidant glutathione are much more nickel tolerant," said David Salt, associate professor of plant molecular physiology in Purdues horticulture department.
The term antioxidant generally refers to a broad class of compounds that protect cells from damage otherwise caused by exposure to certain highly reactive compounds. Understanding the mechanism behind nickel tolerance provides an important tool for researchers like Salt, whose goal is to develop plants that remove toxic metals from the environment in a process known as phytoremediation, or extract useful metals from soil, a process known as phytomining.
Jennifer Cutraro | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
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MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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