Yeast heaters

Yeast living in the nectar of flowering plants can act as miniature space heaters for winter-blooming flowers, suggesting the microorganisms may be a third player in what scientists have traditionally viewed as a two-part plant-pollinator relationship, according to a study published online today (February 9) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Helleborus foetidusImage: Carlos Herrera"It's pretty exciting," said evolutionary microbiologist linkurl:André Lachance;http://www.uwo.ca/biology

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Feb 9, 2010
Yeast living in the nectar of flowering plants can act as miniature space heaters for winter-blooming flowers, suggesting the microorganisms may be a third player in what scientists have traditionally viewed as a two-part plant-pollinator relationship, according to a study published online today (February 9) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Helleborus foetidus
Image: Carlos Herrera
"It's pretty exciting," said evolutionary microbiologist linkurl:André Lachance;http://www.uwo.ca/biology/Faculty/lachance/index.htm of the University of West Ontario, who was not involved in the research. "Some plants have mechanisms to produce heat on their own," such as harnessing solar radiation, he said, but the finding that "yeasts [are] producing heat in flowers, that's entirely new." Many species of yeast live in the nectar of hundreds of different plant species. By metabolizing the sugar it contains, the yeast drain the value of the nectar that bees and other pollinators receive as a reward for their pollen-dispersal services....
Helleborus foetidusMetschnikowia reukaufiiH. foetidusThe ScientistThe ScientistHelleborus foetidus



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