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  • Image: Alan Collmer, Cornell University/Wikimedia Commons.

    COR, nice one, Mr Microbe!

    Although open stomata are necessary for plants to take up CO2 for photosynthesis, this also permits loss of precious water – by transpiration, the so-called necessary evil of photosynthesis. But, surely, nothing worse can be associated with stomata, can it? Well, closed stomata also act as a barrier to entry of harmful microbes, and they […] More

  • Gentamicin antibiotic: a 30S prokaryotic ribosome inhibitor (wiki)

    Gentamicin and special-purpose antibiotics

    Gentamicin is an unusual antiobiotic with two properties that make it particularly useful in plant cell culture: it is autoclavable so is added to media before autoclaving/sterilization, and it is active against mycoplasmas as well as gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Over the last week, I too have been getting it. I discovered this […] More

  • Carrots Transformed by Agrobacterium infections

    Carrot Transformation with Agrobacterium

    This videoblog from is about one of the Cell and Developmental Biology practicals that I run at the University of Leicester for course #BS1003. It involves infection of carrot root slices with three strains of Agrobacterium, two of which cause the plant cells to divide. An earlier video showed how we set up the […] More

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    The Rhizosphere of wild barley across Evolution Canyon

    Bacteria and other microorganisms contribute greatly to the Earth’s biomass as they form the bottom of the food chain and orchestrate the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and flow of other nutrients through the ecosystem. They are the ‘dark matter’ of life and may also hold the key to various global problems facing our society e.g. […] More