Carnivorous plants of the genus Nepenthes catch and digest prey, mainly arthropods, in their pitcher traps in order to obtain additional nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate. The digestive character of the pitcher fluid is well known; other features of the fluid are less well understood, in particular the induction and regulation of its composition. Here, Yilamujiang et al. study the induction of both phytohormones and digestion-related genes in the pitcher of Nepenthes alata. The authors demonstrate that insect prey as well as chitin is able to induce first jasmonate phytohormones which in turn can induce genes for digestive enzymes...Continue reading Prey-induced responses in carnivorous Nepenthes
Plants need appropriate amounts of essential nutrients if they are to grow fully and generate the yield of which they are capable. Quite often, however, one of those essentials – principally, nitrogen (N) – is in insufficient supply in the soil. To achieve maximum crop yields those missing nutrient(s) are added by humans. Traditionally, that has been achieved with expensive, natural-resource-depleting, environment-polluting, artificial fertilisers (also termed ‘chemical fertilisers’, inorganic, synthetic, manufactured fertilisers). So, if faced with a choice between those fertilisers and a clean organic fertiliser that is able to regenerate degraded soil caused by overharvesting, and which is biodegradable,...Continue reading Decision time: Inorganic or Organic..?