Images: Thomas Eisner/Cornell University; © Cornell University
Talk about multi-tasking. A new study reveals that in the St. John’s Wort plant, Hypericum calycinum, the same chemical not only attracts pollinating insects but also deters herbivores that pose a threat to its survival. The findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To the human eye, the flowers of H. calycinum appear as uniform yellow disks (top image). Insects with ultraviolet-sensitive eyes, however, see a dark, ultraviolet-absorbing center (bottom image), which acts as a bull’s-eye to help the insects narrow in on the nectar. According to the new research, one class of pigments responsible for this UV pattern is dearomatized isoprenylated phloroglucinols, or DIPs. The investigators also found high concentrations of DIPs on the plant’s reproductive structures, which suggest that the chemicals serve additional purposes in the plant. "Just as important as attracting pollinators to a plant is producing a viable seed," team member Matthew Gronquist of Cornell University explains, "so there is an evolutionary incentive to protect the reproductive apparatus from herbivores."
Indeed, the scientists found that hypercalin A, one of the DIPs isolated from H. calycinum, deterred larvae of the rattlebox moth. Those caterpillars unlucky enough to ingest the hypercalin A died. The researchers conclude that DIPs act simultaneously to draw pollinators and discourage predators. "Now that we know where to look," study co-author Thomas Eisner remarks, "antifeedant chemicals like the DIPs undoubtedly will be found in other plant species, and they offer clues to more natural insect control agents."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy