A Christian legend has it that the mistletoe was damned by God to a parasites life, because Christs cross was made out of its wood. It was hold sacred by ancient Teutons as it symbolised the continuity of life and fertility because of living between heaven and earth, and staying green even in winter. From this belief the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas still dates back. Druids (and who does not know Miraculix in the world-famous comic series "Asterix"!?) cut them with golden sickles at top-secret places at the turn of the year and from them they brewed all kinds of healing and magic drinks.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Ewald Schnug with mistletoe. Photo: FAL-PB
Colour Infrared image of a mistletoe. Photo: FAL-PB
The spots, where the mistletoes (Latin: Viscum album, i.e. "white slime" and points to the berries sticky features) grow, are not secret anymore. They occur massively in northern Germany. The mistletoes may gain considerable dimensions and are an enormous burden for the host due to their sheer weight and demand for nutrients. So, a mistletoe may easily weigh 15 kg and have a diameter of 1.5-m (see picture 1).
For the propagation of the mistletoes many factors are important such as the type of host tree, birds species, microclimate, and last but not least the individual resistance of the host. Scientists of the Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science of the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL) in Braunschweig, Germany, are investigating, how soil pollution with heavy metals might be related to the predisposition of the trees and vice versa the existence of mistletoes indicates such stress. By means of a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) the scientists overlay geographical and soil information with the appearance of mistletoes. Aerial images taken at low altitude are collected either from miniature planes or from a remote-controlled "aerosonde", better known to the public as "drones" from war reports during the past years. The FAL-scientists work closely together with the colleagues of the German Centre for Aerospace (DLR) in Braunschweig, which use a so-called Micro-Airlab for taking images.
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy