Scientists ID Sterol Essential for Oil Accumulation in Plants

Scientists seeking to unravel the details of how plants produce and accumulate oil have identified a new essential component of the assembly line–a particular sterol that plays a key role in the formation of oil droplets. The findings may suggest new ways to engineer the oil content of a variety of plant tissues for potential applications in bioenergy, chemical engineering, and nutrition.

Calling all couch potatoes: this finger wrap can let you power electronics while you sleep

A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger into a source of power for small electronics and sensors. Engineers at the University of California San Diego developed a thin, flexible strip that can be worn on a fingertip and generate small amounts of electricity when a person’s finger sweats or presses on it. What’s special about this sweat-fueled device is that it generates power even while the wearer is asleep or sitting still.

Danforth Center Scientists Collaborate On $13 Million Bioenergy Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a five-year, $13 million grant to a nationwide research project to genetically strengthen Thlaspi arvense, commonly known as pennycress, for use in sustainable energy efforts.

How to Tackle Climate Change, Food Security and Land Degradation

How can some of world’s biggest problems – climate change, food security and land degradation – be tackled simultaneously? Some lesser-known options, such as integrated water management and increasing the organic content of soil, have fewer trade-offs than many well-known options, such as planting trees, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Decoding plant chatter could lead to stronger crops

Researchers will use a $2.25 federal grant to study how cells communicate within plants, and between plants and pathogens, to develop crops that are resilient to disease and other stresses. The work also could play a role in reengineering plants and microbes to improve biofuel production.

Danforth Center to Lead DOE-Funded Research to Harness Untapped Reservoir of Plant Genes in Quest for Bioenergy Crops

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Danforth Center Principal Investigator James Umen, Ph.D., to lead a multi-institutional collaboration that will predict functions for hundreds of uncharacterized plant genes that could be important to stress tolerance in a range of potential bioenergy crops.