Tagged: hemicellulose


Sawdust

Food that really might taste like sawdust

A common complaint of food, for many reasons, is that it ‘tastes like sawdust’. Although that description is subjective – the food doesn’t contain sawdust even if its taste may suggest otherwise,* there may be more than a grain of truth in it in the near future, if Luke’s dream comes to pass. Who is Luke? And what is his vision? First, Luke isn’t a ‘who’, but a ‘what’; Luke is the acronym for the Natural Resources Institute Finland,** which aims to ‘provide new solutions towards the sustainable development of the Finnish bioeconomy and the promotion of new biobased businesses’....

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Hemicellulose evolution in monilophytes (Research in Context)

Hemicellulose evolution in monilophytes (Research in Context)

The Equisetopsida emerged in the Upper Devonian (>370 mya), and Equisetum (horsetails) may be the oldest surviving vascular plant genus. Horsetails and the Poales are the only plants possessing the hemicellulose (1->3, 1->4)-b-d-glucan (MLG). Xue and Fry show that variation has occurred in MLG structure during horsetail diversification, and that E. bogotense (the earliest-diverging species) has MLG composed almost solely of an ancestral tetrasaccharide repeat-unit, G4G4G3G, whereas other species in both subgenera (Equisetum and Hippochaete) have additional di- and trisaccharide repeats. Quantitatively, xyloglucan is down-played in monilophyte species rich in MLG or mannans. They conclude that plants have ‘experimented’ extensively with hemicellulose...

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Functional approach to predicting root decomposition

Functional approach to predicting root decomposition

Much of plant biomass is in roots but we know much less about root properties that affect decomposition rates than we do about above-ground tissues. Aulen and Shipley measure decomposition rates of 17 species of trees and herbs using intact soil cores in the field and relate the differences to root chemical and morphological properties. They find that initial root traits account for 75 % of variation in interspecific decomposition rates, and may thus provide a relatively simple way of assessing root turnover.

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