Landfills, a way of safely disposing waste, are now considered to be breeding grounds for novel, never before identified microorganisms. Biologists at the University of Waterloo believe these microorganisms have special metabolic abilities that can be harnessed to recycle plant waste.
The decline in reserves, rising cost of fossil fuel extraction and export, and the environmental impacts of their continued use are making alternative fuel more appealing. The push now is to be able to convert cellulose-containing waste into biofuels.
Wetlands in North America are home to a very diverse set of native plants. But an invasive reed called common reed (Phragmites australis) has been expanding rapidly and could potentially threaten the ecosystem processes in the wetlands it inhabits.
Missing a single protein can have lethal consequences for plants. Cuticles are the waxy wall that protects plants from sunlight, pesticides, and dehydration. But damage to the cuticle, like when the Hothead protein is missing, causes the wall to fall down.
The sudden decrease in sporting fish is leading to a potential ecological disruption, if not an economical loss. Due to a lowering in water temperatures, walleye are doing more than wish they could wrap themselves up in a warm blanket.
Upgrades to a wastewater treatment plant along Ontario’s Grand River, led to a 70 per cent drop of intersex fish within one year and a full recovery of the fish population within three years, according to researchers at the University of Waterloo.
Aerial photo of the Kitchener Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2016 (Credit: Region of Waterloo).
Exposure to a simple molecule can restore fertility in the sterile plants
Byline: Mark Lubberts, Biology MSc. student
Some mutated versions of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana can’t reproduce. But exposure to a small molecule called spermidine can restore fertility in some branches in one particular Arabidopsis mutant.
Even more surprisingly, the offspring of the treated plants are fertile, even though they have the same mutations as their parent.
Waterloo biologist Trevor Charles is part of a newly formed collaboration that has received $250,000 in funding from Genome Canada’s Disruptive Innovations in Genomics (DIG) program to retool a well-studied bacterial strain into accepting genetic material from other bacterial species.