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Putting a spring in your step
Autumn 2014
30 September 2014

Aristotle was probably one of the first who recorded thoughts on how animals move and Leonardo Da Vinci famously envisioned a flying machine based on his study of a bat’s wing. Since the works of these pioneers our understanding of the mechanics of biological systems has come a long way. Thanks to this research we can now apply the mechanical principles used in animals and plants to engineering problems.

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Hope for a water-scarce future
Autumn 2014
30 September 2014

A pioneering project in North West China is investigating ways to increase agricultural productivity while restricting water use in irrigation. Water scarcity is already a severe problem in many parts of the world, adding to the challenge of producing more food for increasing numbers of people. Practical integrated methods trialled in the north-west Chinese province of Gansu (one of the driest regions of the country) offer novel approaches which could be used elsewhere in the world.

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Cracking the Kranz enigma
Autumn 2014
30 September 2014

This paper presents a model to explain the development of Kranz anatomy in plants using the C4 pathway for fixation of atmospheric CO2, based on data from –omic based approaches. ​

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Engineering secondary cell wall deposition in plants
Autumn 2014
30 September 2014

The replacement of fossil fuels by sustainable bioenergy is a long term goal that is coming to fruition. Ligno-cellulosic biomass historically used for animal feed or burning is now developed as a source of sugar for fermentation into biofuels. This article illustrates how synthetic biology can be used in a powerful way to alter plant cell wall construction to facilitate increased saccharification.