Food, Agriculture and Plant Biology

Social Bee-stortion: Exploring Pesticide’s Effects on Pollinators

November 08, 2018
In a study appearing in Science, researchers show that the pesticide imidacloprid, which has been sold in the U.S. since 1994, disrupts bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) nest behavior, causing reduced growth in exposed colonies.

Gene Network Lets Plant Roots Handle Nitrogen

October 24, 2018
With robotics, computers and advanced genetics, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have established a core set of genes that help plants metabolize nitrogen, the key to plant growth and crop yield.

Plant Cell Study Adds to Protein Trafficking Dogma

August 16, 2018
A new study reexamines how protein trafficking occurs in the chloroplasts of green plants. The findings add nuance to the protein trafficking dogma.

Untangling the Complexity of the Plant Circadian Clock

June 28, 2018
In a new study, researchers found that the seemingly needless complexity of the plant circadian clock actually helps plants function in an array of environments.

Investigating the Molecular Defense Tactics of Plants

April 11, 2018
In a study appearing in Cell Host & Microbe, UC Davis graduate student Neeraj Lal, Professors Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar and Andrew J Fisher and their colleagues reveal the versatility of plants’ molecular defenses. The findings provide a strategic map revealing how plants allocate resources and have the potential to help bolster crop immune systems and improve their development and growth.

Feeding the Future

March 12, 2018
UC Davis researchers are exploring the survival strategies of wild and parasitic plants to help cultivate the climate-resistant food crops of tomorrow.

Harnessing Plant Microbiomes to Promote Agricultural Growth

February 28, 2018
In a paper appearing in PLOS Biology, Joseph Edwards, ’17 Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, Departments of Plant Biology and Plant Sciences and their colleagues tracked root microbiome shifts throughout the life-cycle of rice (Oryza sativa). The research could help inform the design of agricultural probiotics by introducing age-appropriate microbes that promote traits like nutrient efficiency, strong roots and increased growth rates in rice plants.

How Population Genetics Can Help Breed a Hardier Honey Bee

February 06, 2018
In a study appearing in Genome Biology and Evolution, Assistant Professor Santiago Ramirez, Department of Evolution and Ecology, and postdoctoral researcher Julie Cridland provide a genetic snapshot of the state’s honey bee populations, defining how the species has changed over the past 105 years.

The Quantitative and Computational Future of Plant Biology

December 06, 2017

What does the future of plant biology education and research look like? That’s the question on the mind of Siobhan Brady, associate professor of plant biology at UC Davis.

ID of Pest Reproduction Pheromone May Help Fight Citrus Greening Disease

December 05, 2017
The Asian citrus psyllid, the most devastating threat to the worldwide citrus industry, may have met its match. In a ground-breaking discovery encompassing six years of research, an international team of scientists led by UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal announced they've identified the sex pheromone of the pest, which feeds on citrus and transmits the bacteria that causes the deadly citrus greening disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB).

Can Diet Help Prevent or Postpone Cognitive Decline?

November 20, 2017
In a review article published in Nature: Science of Food, Professor Raymond Rodriguez and his colleagues explore the relationship between diet and brain health, proposing a framework to understand the body’s “food-brain axis,” the intersection of diet and the formation of new brain cells. Rodriguez’s aim is to provide researchers with a dietary roadmap to help prevent cognitive decline.

Photosynthesis Requires the Blue-Greens

November 13, 2017
How did plants develop photosynthesis? The story is really nothing more than a tale of biological thievery. Publishing in The Plant Cell, Lagarias and his colleagues found that a pigment called biliverdin is essential to light-induced chlorophyll production in the alga. This discovery is helping scientists understand why diverse algae retain these pigments, although many lack phytochromes.