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Picture of the Day

Ready for their close-up

In sensing a mechanical stimulus, this trichome -- or hair cell of a plant -- fluoresces red with acidity and green to indicate base. The visible papillar bumps, which acidify when the trichome is touched, store chemicals that may discourage invading insects. Understanding the role trichomes play in how plants perceive, adapt to and remember threats could pave the way for future, pesticide-free crop protection measures. National Science Foundation-funded researchers study plants like this Arabidopsis thaliana to learn how molecules, cells and tissues integrate mechanics within plant and animal biology, with the aim of creating new materials, biomedical therapies and agricultural technologies.

Visit Website | Image credit: Li Hong Zhou, laboratories of Barbara G. Pickard and Guy M. Genin, NSF Science and Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology, Washington University in St. Louis