Biology

Getting retting better by bacterial blending

Jute is the second most important fibre crop after cotton. Harvesting of jute is followed by retting, where the fibres are separated from stems. This is performed in open waters where natural microorganisms decompose the plant material. The fibre quality depends on retting efficiency. Given the water scarcity in Bangladesh and the resulting delays in harvest, the quality of fibres […]

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Biology

Pure and sound: Isolating the finest RNA from jute

Jute is an important crop grown for human usage of its fibres in everyday materials. There has been an increasing interest to study the behaviour of this crop in the field, to maximise its yield. Detailed studies of this plant at the molecular level involves several techniques that require isolation of cellular material such as nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) […]

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Biology

Searching TILL high yielding jute is unearthed

Jute fibres are sustainable, biodegradable alternatives to non-degradable plastic fibres. The cultivation of jute is hindered by the presence of only two cultivated varieties in Corchorus sp and their incompatibility for cross-breeding. Increasing the genetic diversity of jute is a priority, to increase the tolerance of this crop towards environmental stresses, as well as improving the quality of the fibres. […]

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Biology

Understanding plant pathogens using optical mapping

Macrophomina phaseolina MS-6 is a fungal pathogen responsible for causing a plethora of despairing diseases in more than 500 host plants, such as jute. A detailed study of the organism is vital for understanding mechanisms of infection in these plants. Whole-genome sequencing can aid this process and provide a better understanding of MS-6. Previously used sequencing methods like next-generation sequencing […]

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Biology

Transcription factors regulate stress resistance in jute

Dark jute is an increasingly valued bast fibre-yielding plant with a diversity of uses. However, there is a need for varieties that can tolerate challenging environmental conditions. Scientists of Basic and Applied Research on Jute Project at the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute used molecular genetics methods to study the role of the transcription factor superfamily AP2/ERF in the adaptation of […]

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Biology

Housekeeping rules: Why reference genes matter in jute plants

Jute is a commercially grown fibre plant that provides a natural resource for modern day fibre usage. With the lack of diversity in jute plants, the recent sequencing of the jute genome offers a wide range of gene targets for crop breeding. In parallel, the use of quantitative approaches to study the expression pattern of jute genes has taken precedent. […]

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Biology

Tools to not rot jute: Solving a fungal problem

Jute is grown in Bangladesh for its fibres to manufacture various goods for everyday use. Along with environmental challenges, jute faces a devastating threat from the fungal pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina, which causes stem rot. Jute yields can be reduced by 30% with this disease. The long life of the fungus in the soil and seeds prevents the efficient control of […]

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Biology

How to behave in sloth bear territory

Sloth bears are considered to be one of the most dangerous mammals in India. The number of sloth bear attacks annually rivals and may even exceed the total number of all bear attacks from the seven other extant bear species combined. Communities sharing their environment with these bears need clear-cut advice on how to behave to avoid bears and what […]

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Biology

Selecting for feed efficiency to improve milk yield in dairy cows

Breeding programmes in dairy cattle have been successful in the past by selecting for high milk yield, effectively doubling productivity over the past 50 years. However, this approach is reaching a plateau, with minimal improvements expected in the future. For Pekka Huhtanen and his colleagues at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Natural […]

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Biology

Promising results with a new treatment for Foot-and-Mouth disease

Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) is a viral disease that affects many farm animals, including cattle, buffalo and small ruminants. In many developing countries, farmers often don’t have access to preventative treatments, and outbreaks are common. Professor Emeritus Peter Windsor and his team at the University of Sydney, Australia, believes a new product called Tri-Solfen may be an inexpensive and effective solution […]

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