Can you accelerate the growth of a plant by accelerating its surroundings?

Can you accelerate the growth of a plant by accelerating its surroundings?

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I had this weird idea of making plants grow faster when I first visited an indoor nursery which used floodlights instead of sunlight. They turned on during the day and went off during night in cycles.

If the time period of the cycles are decreased, it would seem to the plants that the earth just switched to fast-motion. Will this trick the plants into growing faster?

If not the current generation, would the later generations of plants grown like this adapt to the new rhythm ?

(Given that the plant is provided with surplus nutrients to meet the new requirements.)

I would love to do the experiment myself if it would actually work!

This is not the best answer, but see that as a starter! Feel free to use my answer to build yours!

I have found a so-called professor speaking of advantages to go on a 24h light/12h dark cycle (36h cycle) to accelerate the growth of cannabis. I'm not sure of the reliability of this source.

I think the main problem we will encounter with that reduction of cycle would be the trouble with the circadian clock inside the plant. This clock is quite stable and I suspect some deregulation would happen if you desynchronize your day-night cycle with that clock.

See the effects we show on humans in the sectionEnforced longer cyclesof Wikipedia or this stack question

Researchers are allowed to assess the effects of circadian phase on aspects of sleep and wakefulness including sleep latency and other functions - both physiological, behavioral, and cognitive.

I'm not sure if it's right to post an answer like this but anyway, seeing is believing!

Three days ago I (finally) gathered enough resources to do this experiment. I'm testing on a pea plant as it comes handy. I have set up two samples, one for the test and other for reference.

Today's Day 3, and the results have started to show up. I thought it would be nice for you to see it yourself. The experiment is not over, it's still going on; so I would update the news every three days from now on.

Everything was done in my study room, which is not a laboratory; so the results may not be accurate. I have tried to bring uniformity in the amount and type of soil used, water content, no. of seeds in each sample, seed spacing and other parameters.

I'm providing the link here.

EDIT: Today's only day 5, but the test plant has grown out of my simulator box! I have modified the setup and started a fresh experiment.

The updated record here.

Can you accelerate the growth of a plant by accelerating its surroundings? - Biology

A shift in breeding mentality is needed to realise improved varieties’ potential to increase food security.

Information on markets, environment and climate, pre-breeding research and effective dissemination methods are needed too.

Rapid generation advance has the highest adoption potential of all the accelerated breeding methods in the public sector.

Foregone benefits from earlier adoption could have mitigated the long-term negative impact of hunger on human development.

Postponing accelerated breeding technologies makes no economic sense and immediate adoption is economically optimal.


Global Weather Machine

Journey Into Lechuguilla Cave

Population Campaigns

The team discovered two genes, PXY and CLE, that control outward growth in the tree trunk. By they manipulated these genes in poplar trees so they would over-express, they found they could coax the trees into growing twice as fast as normal. The result were poplars of a certain age that were taller, wider, and had more leaves. “Our results demonstrate that the PXY-CLE pathway has evolved to regulate secondary growth and manipulating this pathway can result in dramatically increased tree growth and productivity,” the researchers write.

Fast-growing trees may have a number of practical applications. First, scientists may be able to use them as a prolific source of renewable source of biofuels. They could also be used for ultra-productive plantations that could produce the same amount of timber or pulp on half the land.

If corresponding genes are found in other species, modified trees could be used around the globe to more rapidly lock up CO 2 emissions. Those trees could then be left standing, used in construction, or burned in a biomass power plant with carbon capture and sequestration equipment (CCS), which would allow us to permanently store the tree’s stored carbon beneath the Earth’s surface . (CCS is still in development, though, with engineers working on refining the technology.)

More broadly, this discovery could help scientists learn how plants react to various climate-related challenges. “Understanding how the plants respond to environmental signals and to what extent we are able to manipulate them to override these signals is likely to be very important for continued improvements to crop performance,” Turner told Nature World News . With the current drought in California threatening a not insignificant portion of the food supply in the United States , more discoveries like this can’t come soon enough.

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Urbanization is one of the 21st century’s megatrends. Based on UN calculations, the urban population will increase by more than 60% by 2030 and continue to near 70% by 2050 25 . In this context, urban trees and their crucial role for public health and quality of life are highly valued. With this study we want to contribute to the understanding of urban tree growth. While we can document clear growth effects based on an unusually broad dataset and solid statistical procedures, this work is not a mechanistic analysis about the causes behind the reported trends. However, among other points, we try to identify probable reasons from the existing body of literature in the following discussion. Moreover, we hope our results will trigger mechanistic studies in order to gain a deeper understanding of the physiological processes underlying our observations.

Environmental change effects on urban and near-urban rural trees

We show that climate change over the last century has been accompanied by higher growth rates of urban and nearby rural trees since 1960. This observed accelerated growth reflects a pattern that has also recently been reported for forest trees. Kauppi et al. 26 identified an increased tree and stand growth in boreal forests, Fang et al. 27 found a similar pattern in Japanese forests and Pretzsch et al. 5 revealed similar results in temperate forests in Central Europe. The observed growth acceleration of urban trees (14%–25%) is similar to the findings related to forests and occurred to some extent also in agricultural systems 28,29 . Obviously, there have been changes in environmental conditions fostering a generally accelerated tree growth regardless of climate zone and land classification. In this context, global warming 30 , going along with extended growing seasons 31 , higher atmospheric CO2-concentrations 30,32,33 , fertilization through N-deposition 32 and diurnal temperature range 34 are discussed as possible driving forces. Despite possible negative effects of global climate change on tree growth – such as drought events which may reduce tree and stand growth 21,35,36 or even cause a die off 37,38,39 – the observed trees seemed to have benefitted so far. This happened in a remarkably uniform way: Both, urban and rural trees along all investigated climate zones significantly accelerated their growth in the last decades.

Urban vs. rural tree growth

Urban trees in the boreal zone grew faster than their rural counterparts both before and after 1960. A similar urban tree growth response was observed in the subtropical zone, but only after 1960.

The higher growth rates of urban trees (as compared to rural trees) seem to be closely related to the urban climate which is characterized by the urban heat island effect, leading to an increase of the daytime surface and air temperature of sealed city centers by up to 3 and 10 °C, respectively 11,12,40 . The urban heat island involves higher temperatures in cities compared to the surrounding landscapes that may stimulate photosynthetic activity if the temperature optimum of a species is not yet reached 41 and extend the growing season 31 by up to 8.8 days per year 42,43 . Numerous studies show an advanced onset of phenological phases in urban areas compared to their rural surroundings 44,45 . Higher CO2 concentrations 33,46,47 , larger annual atmospheric N-deposition 46 and lower ozone concentration 48 in urban areas compared to their rural surroundings 48 might further foster urban tree growth. Particularly in the cities located in the boreal climate zone, urban trees showed higher productivity than rural trees. Because of the high precipitation in these climates and thus non-limited water supply for the trees, the above-mentioned influences of increased temperature and longer growing seasons, higher CO2 concentrations and N-deposition might be effectively accelerating urban tree growth.

However, we did not only observe such superior growth of urban zone trees. Under a Mediterranean climate we found no significant difference between urban and rural tree growth, neither before, nor after 1960. And in contrast to other regions, temperate zone, urban zone trees grew significantly less than rural ones, both before and after 1960. While adverse and beneficial effects of rural and urban zones seem to cancel out under Mediterranean conditions, the adverse urban zone effects seem to constrain tree growth in temperate climate cities. Urban trees can suffer from substantial water stress due to high temperatures, modified precipitation patterns, and unfavorable soil conditions due to impervious surfaces and compacted soils in urban areas 49 . Along with mechanical impacts 50 and reduced gas diffusion within the rhizosphere 51 , these effects may reduce root growth and in turn hamper a tree’s water uptake. We assume that the trend towards a declining difference in growth rates between urban and rural trees with increasing age is closely linked to limited water supply of bigger trees. The higher potential water consumption of old (big) trees compared to young (small) ones cannot be fulfilled under urban conditions and this results in reduced tree growth.

Urban zone and environmental change effects

As reported above, environmental changes since the 1960s resulted in consistent growth acceleration of urban and rural trees throughout the investigated climate zones. This occurrence in three of the four climate zones does not change the previous ranking of the urban zones (urban vs. rural) in terms of growth velocity. The results were only different for the subtropical zone, where rural trees showed enormous growth acceleration in contrast to urban trees, where only a minor increase was observed. Overall, the combine trend was a non-relevant difference in urban vs. rural growth rates since the 1960.

If the urban environment can be considered a preview of future climate conditions for nearby rural areas (e.g. warmer and drier), our results suggest that rural trees in subtropical regions will be the first of the non-urban areas to encounter conditions were tree growth rates will decline due to climate change. While such a pattern was not detected for the other investigated climate zones, urban tree growth may very well develop in different directions depending on the various combination of the key causal effects (temperature, water supply, growing season length, CO2 and O3concentration, N-deposition), their limitations and/or levels as altered by climate change and differing between urban and rural areas 34 . For example, the extension of the growing season length caused by both the urban heat island effect and climate change may be in the magnitude of up to 11% for European cities assuming an urban heat island effect of 8.8 days 42 , a global warming effect of 10.5 days within a period of 30 years 31 and an average growing season length of 180 days 52 .

Again, adverse conditions in cities like limited rooting space or higher pollution through particulate matter do not seem to cancel out to the benefits of current urban climate and atmospheric conditions for tree growth. However, in the temperate and in the subtropical zone, urban compared to rural tree growth has profited less from the changes in recent decades. This might be seen as a sign that the formerly beneficial urban climate may turn into disadvantageous dry conditions that reduce growth, especially in water-limited climate zones such as subtropics.


To our knowledge, this is the first study providing an international synopsis about the effects of global climate change and the urban zone on tree growth in cities. As it was obviously impossible to sample the same tree species in all metropolises, one might argue that cross-city analyses were not meaningful due to a lack of comparability. However, given the goals of our study, having a distinct species at each location that is, as indicated by its frequent occurrence, well adapted to past long-term local conditions is both the most realistic and the most preferable option. In this way, the relevance of our results for management is secure and we can safely use past growth of well-adapted trees as a reference. Against this backdrop, it was important to prevent species-specific scaling characteristics from introducing bias into the results reported above. This was achieved by including city-/species-specific random effects on both generic parameters of the relationship between tree age and basal area in all regression models which formed the statistical backbone of our analysis (see Equations 3, 4 and 5).

As this study focuses on the growth of trees, visibly damaged or diseased individuals were excluded from sampling. Thus, our results do not allow statements e.g. about the potentially differing risks of diseases or premature death faced by urban and rural trees. With this work we emphasize the potential of urban trees for bio-monitoring, especially in retrospect. Using tree ring patterns as a source of information about environmental changes we can show the vast footprint of humans on urban tree growth. Both global climate change and the urban heat island effect are reflected in the tree ring patterns. Together these effects accelerate tree growth by an average of 35%, consisting of a global climate change effect of 21% and an urban heat island effect of 14%. We sampled tree species which are i) growing in their optimum in the respective climate zones ii) commonly established in urban areas, and iii) well adapted to the respective (past) climate. Other species which are less adapted may benefit less from the changing climate or suffer more from future developments in the global and urban climates. But interestingly, although the sampled tree species differ in their general traits (e.g. shade or drought tolerance, hydric behavior) an overarching trend in growth shift was observed.


The shown acceleration of tree size growth means increased C sequestration, accelerated spatial above- and below-ground expansion, and earlier provision of many ecosystem services. However, it also means more rapid tree aging, possibly indicating a need for earlier replacement and replanting. In order to sustain the green urban infrastructure, planning and management should adapt to this changing tree growth rate. Whether the accelerated tree growth lowers the mechanical stability, biotic resistance, or safety hazard of urban trees is a topic of ongoing research based on the worldwide network of urban trees established within this study.

Mining big data

&ldquoPharma company researchers are working hard to manage all the big data coming their way,&rdquo said Dr. Jaqui Hodgkinson, VP of Product Development Biology and Preclinical Products at Elsevier and a former clinical data scientist for Glaxo Wellcome. &ldquoManaging and understanding that data is critical to getting new medicines to market sooner. That&rsquos why we&rsquore continually expanding our text mining systems to handle input from diverse sources.&rdquo

To discover and develop a new drug, researchers need to know, at the minimum, what has already been published in peer-reviewed biomedical journals about their compound. But to get the most relevant information &mdash and save time , money and unnecessary experimentation &mdash it helps to use a system that can also process and analyze related input, such as regulatory information, reports of side effects from medications related to the one they&rsquore investigating &mdash and even comments from social media.

Deep text mining and analysis is also key to drug-repurposing &mdash that is, finding new uses, or indications, for existing drugs. This is an important business strategy for pharmaceutical companies because it helps them increase the return on their R&D investment. But it also helps them stay true to their commitment to address areas of unmet medical need, so this strategy helps patients.

Elsevier is celebrating the unsung, the unseen and the as yet unknown. We are proud to support collaboration and innovation every day as in these examples of machine learning applied to research. For more stories about the people and projects empowered by knowledge, we invite you to visit Empowering Knowledge.

At Elsevier, we&rsquore working with the UK nonprofit Findacure to help researchers identify drugs approved for other disorders that could also help combat rare diseases. As part of a collaboration that began in September 2015, Elsevier is providing informatics expertise and advice, as well as access to the published literature, on a drug called sirolimus, which is being repurposed as a treatment for an extremely rare disease: congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI).

We&rsquoll also help in a later stage, when sirolimus is ready for testing, with tools such as Pathway Studio, which enables the study and visualization of disease mechanisms, gene expression, and proteomics and metabolomics data, to assess CHI&rsquos biological make-up in depth, and then shortlist additional promising potential treatments that could be repurposed safely and effectively.

Using the same technologies, a similar approach was used to help pharmaceutical companies identify new indications for, among others, the TNF-inhibitor adalimumab (Humira), and the anti-cancer drug, imatinib (Gleevec).

Phenology and resource utilization

Although our focus is on resource acquisition, we note briefly that phenology also has effects on nutrient utilization by changing the duration of nutrients in plant tissue. Nutrient duration is simply the integral of tissue nutrient content over time, and is generally related with nutrient utility. For example, the utilization of leaf nitrogen for photosynthetic carbon gain was directly related to leaf duration in Phaseolus vulgaris ( Lynch and Rodriguez, 1994), and leaf phosphorus duration was related to bolt biomass in Arabidopsis thaliana ( Nord and Lynch, 2008). Although increased nutrient duration generally increases nutrient utilization, continued leaf accumulation of some elements can also lead to nutrient imbalances and toxicity, as in the case of Mn toxicity in trees of the eastern forest of North America ( Lynch and St Clair, 2004).

Phenology may also affect resource utilization by altering the length of the reproductive phase. Earlier maturation without earlier reproduction reduces the length of the reproductive phase. This can have consequences for resource utilization. In a study with Arabidopsis thaliana, it was found that seed production in one genotype was reduced in elevated CO2 because the reproductive phase was shortened ( Nord, 2008). Seed-filling duration is known to influence yield in grain crops ( Egli, 2004), and grain yields have been reported to decline when grain-filling duration is reduced by elevated temperature ( Sofield et al., 1977). These illustrate the importance of time for the conversion of acquired resources into seed.

That proposal is a carbon tax, implemented either at the moment carbon is extracted or imported into the country — where 100% of the proceeds are distributed equally to every family in the country. It’s supported by both a Republican coalition, in concert with ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell — at $40 per ton of carbon dioxide — and by many socialists, at a more aggressive price per ton. This could give every family in the country an annual payout of anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.

It’s a very tempting idea, and it’s not easy to spot at first what’s wrong with it. Our concern is that it would too closely follow the Alaska Permanent Fund, on which it’s modeled. Every citizen of Alaska gets an annual dispensation from the rights to Prudhoe Bay drilling. Under a Carbon Dividend, there’s a perverse incentive: families would get accustomed to the check, and the only way the check keeps coming is if the fossil fuel burning continues. Alaskans have never been able to turn their Permanent Fund off, or their oil wells.

The US expanded its carbon sequestration 45Q tax credit last year we now give a $50-per-ton credit for sequestering carbon dioxide, and a $35 per ton credit for capturing carbon dioxide. But it’s led to some bizarre consequences. The best example of this is the Petra Nova facility near Houston, Texas, which is part of the 3.65 gigawatt WA Parish power plant. The WA Parish plant is the second-biggest power plant in the US, and Petra Nova is the single biggest carbon capture system in the world today. With the carbon dioxide they capture from burning coal in the WA Parish boiler, Petra Nova sends it back underground to gas fields 82 miles away, earning tax credits. Which sounds great — except that, they use the underground carbon dioxide much like fracking an oil well with water. The carbon dioxide pressures oil to come out of the earth faster. How much more oil? 50 times more. Before Petra Nova was built, the West Ranch Oil Field was producing 300 barrels of oil a day. Now it produces 15,000. So our carbon credit is generating more oil extraction, not less. The very opposite behavior we want. Oh, and the US gave Petra Nova a $190 million grant to do this.

Meanwhile, under the 45Q carbon credit, if you don’t use carbon at all, or if you use less carbon in the first place, you don’t get any tax benefit.

Under the Tree

Mulching under a magnolia tree can spur it to grow quickly by keeping the roots cool and moist during hot summer months. For best results, spread straw, shredded bark or another organic mulch in spring, extending the mulched zone a foot or two past the tree's root zone renew the mulch as it breaks down. To cut down on potential disease problems, be sure to keep the mulch pulled back about a foot from the trunk. Mulching also helps keep down weeds and grass, which can compete with the tree for soil nutrients and substantially slow its growth. When mowing or trimming plants around the tree, be careful not to injure the tree's trunk or branches, since these wounds give pathogens that can interfere with the tree's growth an entry point into the tree's interior.

Understanding Tech Ecosystems & How They Support Growth and Innovation

Understanding tech ecosystems is critical to my job at Facebook. As a program manager for the Developer & Startup Programs for North America and Caribbean regions, I get to leverage one of my strengths: building sustainable but agile strategies to address the technical needs of the region and beyond. With this opportunity comes great responsibilities hence, I take a very methodological approach in understanding ecosystems and how Facebook Developer and Startup programs can fit, elevate, build and add value.

With the same token, I ’ve realized that the word “ecosystem” is often used in the tech scene without much context. It has quickly become of the “go-to buzz word” at various tech communities, events such as conferences and etc. It sounds great and but it “packs a lot of punch” — more than we acknowledge. In this post, I’ll do my best to breakdown what an ecosystem is, what consists of and how it supports and sustains growth and innovation in tech.

From the beginning — what is an ecosystem?

The word ecosystem was first coined by Roy Clapham in 1930 but interestingly enough, in 1935, it was the ecologist Arthur Tansley who fully defined an ecosystem concept in an article: “The whole system,… including not only the organism-complex, but also the whole complex of physical factors forming what we call the environment”.

Now, it’s no surprise that an ecologist coined that term considering their nature of work — an expert in the branch of biology (ecology) that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. The second portion of the word is system, is defined as a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network. From Tansley’s perspective and from a biological point of view, in a rich ecosystem, organisms are consistently interacting with one another including their surroundings while reacting to external and internal factors as a unit.

Looking at the above picture (1a), you can see the importance of each organism within the ecosystem and how it sustains growth, maturity and development. If any of the key players are removed (let’s say the plants and tree), it poses a threat to the sustainability of the ecosystem. A quick glance and a basic example: once the plant/tree is removed, herbivores like the rabbit and squirrel will vacate the premises and carnivores like the fox will move to other areas or possibly die off for lack of food. This potentially threatens any other living organism and slowly diminishes how matter is recycled in the environment eventually, a once rich and vibrant ecosystem, will potentially be destroyed.

What is the make up of a tech ecosystem?

With our understanding of ecosystems, we can now define tech ecosystem as an interconnected and interdependent network of diverse entities coming together to spur innovation in the tech environment pertaining to products and services in sustainable manner.

Let’s take a look at what an ecosystem comprises of:

Think of any strong and thriving tech ecosystem (examples: San Francisco and New York) and you will more than likely see all six entities play a major role: Strong developer community, accelerators and tech hubs, tech focused startups, established businesses and companies, engagement and connects and Universities and Schools.

Let’s break them down further:

Strong Developer Community: As technology continue to evolve at faster rates, a vibrant and strong developer community is critical in any tech ecosystem. A strong developer community promotes learning and also forces its members to the cutting edge of technology — this ensures that the ecosystem is armed with developer resources who can tackle various problems leading to innovations of products and services. The community provides a support system where failure is seen as part of the journey to growth and development. This is achieved through engagement and connection.

Engagement and Connection: In a thriving ecosystem, there is constant engagement and healthy business relationships being formed on a consistent basis. Normally, to promote learning and connections, these engagements happen via Meetups/Usergroups and other community events such as conferences. At these events, developers are meeting each other to learn from one another and providing a support system. It simply takes a village — constant engagement and connection over time builds this village of community members who not only take, but give back to promote growth and sustainability.

Established Businesses and Companies: Established tech companies do not only provide opportunities for developers to make a living but they support innovation in the ecosystem while serving as companies which other startups can look up to. More than often, established companies provide meetup spots for the developer community to hold their events which encourages learning, but also, they usually have resources for Research and Development (R&D) which provides other opportunities for developer community members to work on cutting edge technologies to spur innovation.

Accelerators & Tech Hubs: Accelerators are critical when it comes to sustaining any tech ecosystem — they support early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing. They simply help to accelerate the growth of early stage startups. Without accelerators in ecosystems, as entrepreneurs build and innovate, the ramp up to growth will take longer and possibly discourage or hinder progress. Tech hubs on the other hand provide physically spaces or environment where tech enabled startups can work and thrive while networking with other like-minded individuals and startups.

Universities & Schools: Universities and schools not only feed rich talent into an ecosystem (which is critical), but they play an important role in the development of new and innovative tech ideas. Universities provide an environment of connections, support, talent to their students and other researchers — and in so doing, fostering growth. Universities are also know for helping researchers and students patent their ideas and provide an environment where innovators can also test their ideas. University based hackathons provide student developers the opportunity to quickly ideate and build projects.

How ecosystems support growth and innovation

Now that we understand what an ecosystem is and what constitutes or make up an ecosystem, let’s take a look at how ecosystems support growth and innovation sustainably in tech.

Without the key fabrics of a tech ecosystem, it’ll be extremely difficult for any tech related startup to succeed. This reminds me of the small portion of my home in Atlanta which is not able to grow Bermuda-grass like the other parts of the lawn. There is soil, it receives enough water, but one specific thing missing is sunlight. Without direct sunlight, it does not matter how much water or fertilizer I’ll supplement, it simply will not grow. This is because Bermuda-grass is a perennial warm-season grass, meaning it comes back every year and grows most actively from late spring through hot summer months and it is usually the type of grass you might find in Atlanta, Georgia. But without a key actor or entity (sunlight) as part of the ecosystem which promotes growth, the grass will fail to grow. This is how tech ecosystems work— without a key ingredient as a University, Strong Developer Community or Tech focused startup, it will simply be tough to any tech related startup to succeed. Tech ecosystems don’t work in parts, but rather all the entities are interconnected, intertwined and interdependent to help support innovation and work as one unit.

Eighty percent of startups fail — this is a known fact, but investors understand that startups have a “survival chance” when they are able pivot to a more successful concept or iterate on the original concept and this normally happens in a thriving ecosystem. This is because the vibrant tech ecosystem can provide a community of developers for moral support, talent, cutting edge research, physical location, mentors and the opportunity fail, learn until success becomes the only option. The thing is, building tech ecosystems is not an easy task. It takes years or even decades of deliberate efforts and investments to bring them to life. The value it brings far outweighs the complexity and time it takes.

Innovation survives and thrives within the fabrics of tech ecosystems and these ecosystems help support and generate enormous economic value but it does not stop there, it extends beyond the finances of our world and impacts our everyday life. This of the platform which has enabled the merchant to sell his/her products on the global market — this merchant can now earn more more to feed his/her children and cater to the needs of the family or community. Think of the grandparent is hospice who can now venture through out the world via virtual reality. Think of how via machine learning and AI, my thermostat in my home in Atlanta can regulate itself to help me save money while I work in the bay area. I can go on and on, but you get the point the possibilities are endless and they are only made possible with one key ingredient: sustainable ecosystems.

Watch the video: Bean Time-Lapse - 25 days. Soil cross section (May 2022).