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Research Summaries

BioLine Research Summaries

The light at the end of the tunnel: bioluminescence’s fight against the climate crisis

UMN scientists use fungi to create a fluorescent glow in plants – a discovery that researchers hope to use to guide insects to pollinate flowers.

A small bumblebee travels swiftly through the air, searching for a flower to pollinate. It scans the field for vibrant colors and aromatic smells but finds that its timing is off. Flowers typically blossoming at this time of year don’t look quite ready, and the flowers it usually pollinates next month are already in full bloom. 

Luciferin, the lights behind science and food security

Using fungi bioluminescence in plants could increase crop pollination for food production.

On dark, starless, summer nights, sometimes we get surprised by steady lights emitted by click beetles or flashing lights from fireflies. Have you ever wondered why those lights liven up the sky? The lights are used to communicate, attract prey, defend, and mate. Maybe similar lights can be designed for plants to talk to insects to increase natural insect pollination rates of crops for food production. 

Stop eating at Popeyes. Have olive oil instead.

Fad diets promise weight loss and a long healthy life. But, no diet follows through like the Mediterranean diet does.

When you look at places with the highest proportion of centenarians — no, not centaurs the mythical man horse combo; rather, people that live to be over 100-years-old — the small island of Sardinia nestled in the Mediterranean has the third highest population in the world right behind the US and Japan. 

Scientists know that the high levels of olive oil in Sardinian diets explains why they live so long. But they didn’t know why until now.