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Pitcher plants

David W Armitage
Bacteria are hypothesized to provide a variety of beneficial functions to plants. Many carnivorous pitcher plants, for example, rely on bacteria for digestion of captured prey. This bacterial community may also be responsible for the low surface tensions commonly observed in pitcher plant digestive fluids, which might facilitate prey capture. I tested this hypothesis by comparing the physical properties of natural pitcher fluid from the pitcher plant Darlingtonia californica and cultured 'artificial' pitcher fluids and tested these fluids' prey retention capabilities...
November 2016: Biology Letters
Marie Monniaux, Angela Hay
A key question in biology is how the endless diversity of forms found in nature evolved. Understanding the cellular basis of this diversity has been aided by advances in non-model experimental systems, quantitative image analysis tools, and modeling approaches. Recent work in plants highlights the importance of cell wall and cuticle modifications for the emergence of diverse forms and functions. For example, explosive seed dispersal in Cardamine hirsuta depends on the asymmetric localization of lignified cell wall thickenings in the fruit valve...
November 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Kengo Manabe, Takeshi Matsubayashi, Mizuki Tenjimbayashi, Takeo Moriya, Yousuke Tsuge, KyuHong Kyung, Seimei Shiratori
Inspired by biointerfaces, such as the surfaces of lotus leaves and pitcher plants, researchers have developed innovative strategies for controlling surface wettability and transparency. In particular, great success has been achieved in obtaining low adhesion and high transmittance via the introduction of a liquid layer to form liquid-infused surfaces (LISs). Furthermore, smart surfaces that can change their surface properties according to external stimuli have recently attracted substantial interest. As some of the best-performing smart surface materials, slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPSs), which are super-repellent, demonstrate the successful achievement of switchable adhesion and tunable transparency that can be controlled by a graded mechanical stimulus...
September 23, 2016: ACS Nano
David W Armitage
Biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) experiments routinely employ common garden designs, drawing samples from a local biota. The communities from which taxa are sampled may not, however, be at equilibrium. To test for temporal changes in BEF relationships, I assembled the pools of aquatic bacterial strains isolated at different time points from leaves on the pitcher plant Darlingtonia californica in order to evaluate the strength, direction and drivers of the BEF relationship across a natural host-associated successional gradient...
September 14, 2016: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Phuong M Tran, John L Dahl
Several fast-intermediate growing, acid-fast, scotochromogenic bacteria were isolated from Sarracenia purpurea pitcher waters in Minnesota sphagnum peat bogs. Two strains (DL734T and DL739T) were among these isolates. Based upon 16S rRNA sequences, the phylogenetic positions of both strains is in the genus Mycobacterium with no obvious relation to any characterized type strains of mycobacteria. Phenotypic characterization revealed neither strain was similar to the type strains of known species of the genus Mycobacterium in the collective properties of growth, pigmentation, or fatty acid composition...
August 4, 2016: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Winnie W Ho, Jeffrey A Riffell
Plants experience often opposing energetic demands and selective pressures-for instance, where plants need to attract an insect that is both the pollinator and herbivore, or alternately, where plants attract prey (due to limited resources) and pollinators. Together, these selective pressures can modify the volatile signals available to the plant's mutualistic and antagonistic partners. Nevertheless, it remains an open question how changes in the information content of volatile signals modify behavioral responses in mutualists and antagonists, and what the underlying neural bases of these behaviors are...
November 2016: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Linda Lee, Ye Zhang, Brittany Ozar, Christoph W Sensen, David C Schriemer
Plants belonging to the genus Nepenthes are carnivorous, using specialized pitfall traps called "pitchers" that attract, capture, and digest insects as a primary source of nutrients. We have used RNA sequencing to generate a cDNA library from the Nepenthes pitchers and applied it to mass spectrometry-based identification of the enzymes secreted into the pitcher fluid using a nonspecific digestion strategy superior to trypsin in this application. This first complete catalog of the pitcher fluid subproteome includes enzymes across a variety of functional classes...
September 2, 2016: Journal of Proteome Research
Carter T Butts, Jan C Bierma, Rachel W Martin
In his 1875 monograph on insectivorous plants, Darwin described the feeding reactions of Drosera flypaper traps and predicted that their secretions contained a "ferment" similar to mammalian pepsin, an aspartic protease. Here we report a high-quality draft genome sequence for the cape sundew, Drosera capensis, the first genome of a carnivorous plant from order Caryophyllales, which also includes the Venus flytrap (Dionaea) and the tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes). This species was selected in part for its hardiness and ease of cultivation, making it an excellent model organism for further investigations of plant carnivory...
October 2016: Proteins
Ayufu Yilamujiang, Michael Reichelt, Axel Mithöfer
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Carnivorous Nepenthes plants use modified leaves forming pitfall traps to capture and digest prey, mainly insects, for additional nutrient supply. These traps, so called pitchers, contain a plant-derived fluid composed of many hydrolytic enzymes and defence-related proteins. In this study, the prey-induced induction of corresponding genes of those proteins and a role for phytohormones in this process was analysed. METHODS: Tissue from insect prey-fed, chitin- and phytohormone-challenged pitchers was harvested and analysed for selected gene expressions by a quantitative PCR technique...
August 2016: Annals of Botany
Pritam Kumar Roy, Reeta Pant, Arun Kumar Nagarajan, Krishnacharya Khare
We demonstrate a novel technique to fabricate mechanically tunable slippery surfaces using one-dimensional (anisotropic) elastic wrinkles. Such wrinkles show tunable topography (amplitude) on the application of mechanical strain. Following Nepenthes pitcher plants, lubricating fluid infused solid surfaces show excellent slippery behavior for test liquid drops. Therefore, combining the above two, that is, infusing suitable lubricating fluid on elastic wrinkles, would enable us to fabricate mechanically tunable slippery surfaces...
June 14, 2016: Langmuir: the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids
Sissi Miguel, Flore Biteau, Benoit Mignard, Armelle Marais, Thierry Candresse, Sébastien Theil, Frédéric Bourgaud, Alain Hehn
Although poleroviruses are known to infect a broad range of higher plants, carnivorous plants have not yet been reported as hosts. Here, we describe the first polerovirus naturally infecting the pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis. The virus was identified through bioinformatic analysis of NGS transcriptome data. The complete viral genome sequence was assembled from overlapping PCR fragments and shown to share 91.1 % nucleotide sequence identity with the US isolate of beet western yellows virus (BWYV). Further analysis of other N...
August 2016: Archives of Virology
Steven A Morrison, Haoxin Li, Duncan Webster, John A Johnson, Christopher A Gray
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: The purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea, is a medicinal plant used by the Canadian First Nations to treat a wide variety of illnesses. The Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) peoples of Eastern Canada have traditionally used infusions of S. purpurea for the treatment of tuberculosis-like symptoms. Previous investigations have shown methanolic extracts of S. purpurea to possess antimycobacterial activity. AIM OF THE STUDY: To isolate and identify antimycobacterial constituents from S...
July 21, 2016: Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Huawei Chen, Pengfei Zhang, Liwen Zhang, Hongliang Liu, Ying Jiang, Deyuan Zhang, Zhiwu Han, Lei Jiang
Numerous natural systems contain surfaces or threads that enable directional water transport. This behaviour is usually ascribed to hierarchical structural features at the microscale and nanoscale, with gradients in surface energy and gradients in Laplace pressure thought to be the main driving forces. Here we study the prey-trapping pitcher organs of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata. We find that continuous, directional water transport occurs on the surface of the 'peristome'--the rim of the pitcher--because of its multiscale structure, which optimizes and enhances capillary rise in the transport direction, and prevents backflow by pinning in place any water front that is moving in the reverse direction...
April 7, 2016: Nature
Jordan D Satler, Bryan C Carstens
Comparative phylogeographic investigations have identified congruent phylogeographic breaks in co-distributed species in nearly every region of the world. The qualitative assessments of phylogeographic patterns traditionally used to identify such breaks, however, are limited because they rely on identifying monophyletic groups across species and do not account for coalescent stochasticity. Only long-standing phylogeographic breaks are likely to be obvious; many species could have had a concerted response to more recent landscape events, yet possess subtle signs of phylogeographic congruence because ancestral polymorphism has not completely sorted...
May 2016: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
David W Armitage
PREMISE OF STUDY: Carnivorous pitcher plants employ a variety of putative adaptations for prey attraction and capture. One example is the peculiar forked "fishtail appendage", a foliar structure widely presumed to function as a prey attractant on adult leaves of Darlingtonia californica (Sarraceniaceae). This study tests the prediction that the presence of the appendage facilitates prey capture and can be considered an example of an adaptation to the carnivorous syndrome. METHODS: In a field experiment following a cohort of Darlingtonia leaves over their growing season, before the pitcher traps opened, the fishtail appendages from half of the leaves were removed...
April 2016: American Journal of Botany
Wan Nor Adibah Wan Zakaria, Kok-Keong Loke, Hoe-Han Goh, Normah Mohd Noor
Carnivorous plants have the ability to capture and digest insects for nutrients, which allows them to survive in land deprived of nitrogenous nutrients. Nepenthes spp. are one of the carnivorous plants, which uniquely produce pitcher from the tip of an elongated leaf. This study provides the first transcriptome resource from pitcher of a Nepenthes ventricosa × Nepenthes alata hybrid, Nepenthes × ventrata to understand carnivory mechanism in Nepenthes spp., as well as in other carnivorous species. Raw reads and the transcriptome assembly project have been deposited to SRA database with the accession numbers SRX1389337 (day 0 control), SRX1389392 (day 3 longevity), and SRX1389395 (day 3 chitin-treated)...
March 2016: Genomics Data
Jing Wang, Keiko Kato, Alexandre P Blois, Tak-Sing Wong
Inspired by the wax regeneration ability of plant leaves and the slippery surfaces of the Nepenthes pitcher plants, we have developed a new form of cross-species bioinspired slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (X-SLIPS) that can self-repair under thermal stimulation even under large-area physical and chemical damage. The performance and underlying mechanism of the thermal-healing property has been studied and characterized in detail. These thermally self-healing omniphobic coatings can be applied to a broad range of metals, plastics, glass, and ceramics of various shapes and show excellent repellency toward aqueous and organic liquids...
March 2016: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Pengchao Zhang, Ling Lin, Dongmian Zang, Xinglin Guo, Mingjie Liu
Anti-biofouling surfaces are of high importance owing to their crucial roles in biosensors, biomedical devices, food processing, the marine industry, etc. However, traditional anti-biofouling surfaces based on either the release of biocidal compounds or surface chemical/physical design cannot satisfy the practical demands when meeting real-world complex conditions. The outstanding performances of natural anti-biofouling surfaces motivate the development of new bioinspired anti-biofouling surfaces. Herein, a novel strategy is proposed for rationally designing bioinspired anti-biofouling surfaces based on superwettability...
February 24, 2016: Small
Sandy Rottloff, Sissi Miguel, Flore Biteau, Estelle Nisse, Philippe Hammann, Lauriane Kuhn, Johana Chicher, Vincent Bazile, Laurence Gaume, Benoit Mignard, Alain Hehn, Frédéric Bourgaud
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Carnivorous plants have developed strategies to enable growth in nutrient-poor soils. For the genus Nepenthes, this strategy represents producing pitcher-modified leaves that can trap and digest various prey. These pitchers produce a digestive fluid composed of proteins, including hydrolytic enzymes. The focus of this study was on the identification of these proteins. METHODS: In order to better characterize and have an overview of these proteins, digestive fluid was sampled from pitchers at different stages of maturity from five species of Nepenthes (N...
March 2016: Annals of Botany
Kyoo-Chul Park, Philseok Kim, Alison Grinthal, Neil He, David Fox, James C Weaver, Joanna Aizenberg
Controlling dropwise condensation is fundamental to water-harvesting systems, desalination, thermal power generation, air conditioning, distillation towers, and numerous other applications. For any of these, it is essential to design surfaces that enable droplets to grow rapidly and to be shed as quickly as possible. However, approaches based on microscale, nanoscale or molecular-scale textures suffer from intrinsic trade-offs that make it difficult to optimize both growth and transport at once. Here we present a conceptually different design approach--based on principles derived from Namib desert beetles, cacti, and pitcher plants--that synergistically combines these aspects of condensation and substantially outperforms other synthetic surfaces...
March 3, 2016: Nature
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