Report from the 6th SPPS PhD Student Conference
Physiologia Plantarum's impact factor is on the rise
Time to renew your SPPS membership
The Global Plant Council is taking legal and formal shape
Update on SPPS Congress in Stavanger 2011
SPPS Education Committee established
New membership fee payment system in the works
Plant science in Estonia
Scandinavian research institute:
Plant science institutes in Estonia

Published monthly on behalf of SPPS by Wiley-Blackwell.
Tomato math
A mathematical model that describes the viscoelastic behaviour of tomatoes has been developed by Antonio Heredia and coworkers from Universidad de Malaga in Spain. The main biochemical feature of tomato skin is the cuticle, which is basically composed of soluble wax and insoluble inter-esterified hydroxyalkanoic acids forming a high-molecular weight biopolymer. The cuticle is of great commercial importance as it offers mechanical resistance to deformation and influence post-harvest shelf life and quality. These traits, however, depend on parameters like temperature and hydration that can be controlled during post-harvest handling of the fruits. The model combines mechanical data from previous analysis of tomatoes kept under different conditions and integrates an elastic and a viscous element to describe the mechanical behaviour of isolated cuticle. The model obtained a good fit between experimental and modelled data, and e.g. correctly predicted a reduced resistance to breakage under humid conditions.
Read full article here: Lopez-Casado et al (September 2010) Physiologia Plantarum 140: 79-88

Ant bodyguards keep elephants off tree
Source: Goheen & Palmer (28 September 2010) Current Biology 20: 1-5
Fossil Flower Suggests Origin of Sunflowers
Source: Barreda et al (24 September 2010) Science 329: 1621

Sponsored links:

Report from the 6th SPPS PhD Student Conference

Poster presentation sessions were arranged by subject area and divided into two days. In total 53 posters were presented with enthusiasm and lively discussion. Photo by Timo Idänheimo.
The 6th SPPS PhD Student Conference was held in Espoo, Finland, during 2-5 September 2010. 78 PhD students, 11 invited speakers and 7 SPPS board members gathered to the Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural centre and spend four intensive days together sharing the latest breakthroughs and highlights of their research fields.

The conference was designed to cover the whole map of plant biology, so whether you were an ecologist or a molecular biologist you could find your session and your audience. Keynote lectures given by Claudia Jonak (AT), Gareth Jenkins (UK), Elena Baena-Gonzalez (PT), Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey (FI), Eva-Mari Aro (FI), Ken Birnbaum (US), Maria Israelsson Nordström (SE), Elisabeth Truenit (DE) and Steven Vandenabeele (BE) opened the sessions after which students took the podium. Vaughan Hurry and Matsuo Uemura from Physiologia Plantarum hosted the "How to get published" session and gave valuable instructions and hints for the students. Invited speakers attended also the "Life after a PhD" panel discussion and told shortly about their research background and important milestones in their careers.

SPPS president Jaakko Kangasjärvi granted the best oral presentation prize to Hanjörg Stampfl for his talk about Phosphorylation-mediated stress signalling and redox regulation. Photo by Timo Idänheimo.
SPPS student conferences require active participation and every student presented either a talk or a poster. SPPS granted student presentation prizes and Hanjörg Stampfl from Austria won the best oral presentation prize and 3 poster presentation prizes were granted to Bastiaan Brouwer from Sweden, Lauri Vaahtera from Finland and Hanne Thomsen from Denmark. The Agrisera poster prize was granted to Tuuli Haikonen from Finland.

Almost 100 PhD students participated in the conference. Photo by Timo Idänheimo.
The student conferences have succeeded to offer PhD students an opportunity to present their work and interact with leadings scientists and other students in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. SPPS vice president Tom Hamborg Nielsen addressed in his talk the importance of the conferences and wished all the best to the future conferences and young scientists. The number of participants in the student conferences has been increasing year by year and this time almost 100 participants attended the conference. Most of the participants came from Scandinavia but there were also few participants from Estonia, India, Austria, France, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, UK and US.

SPPS celebrated the 10th anniversary of the student conferences with cake and sparkling wine. Photo by Timo Idänheimo.
In addition to scientific presentations and discussions there was enough time for nice social programs as well. The conference started with a species recognition competition and every evening the participants had the possibility to try sauna. On Friday evening there was arranged a visit to Helsinki and on Saturday there was a nice conference dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the student conferences.

After the conference dinner the floor was free for dancing. During the evening there was a possibility to learn national dances at least from Finland, Estonia, Turkey and Cuba. One of the organizers, Luis Morales, taught the basics of salsa for the participants. Photo by Timo Idänheimo.

Design and technical solution © 2004 Palmgren kommunikation. SPPS Newsletter is edited by Gorm Palmgren.
All articles - unless otherwise stated - are written by Gorm Palmgren.