SPPS 70th anniversary! “Promote Plant Science Grant” winners chosen!

For its 70th year of existence, SPPS had created the opportunity to apply for 70.000 SEK to promote plant science in Scandinavia, serving the societies’ main goal! Now, two grants have been given out to applicants.

Daria Chrobock:

Daria is currently finishing her PhD in Plant Physiology at the UPSC in Umeå, Sweden.

Her major interest in research is different kinds of leaf senescence in Arabidopsis, mostly focusing on the role of mitochondria in these processes. In connection with doing research,  she is greatly interested in scientific illustration to communicate knowledge about plants to others, scientists from different fields and also reaching out to people outside of plant science.

Her project will put important topics in plant science into a comic strip format and populate social media soon.  Some of Daria’s previous work can be viewed here.

The second project reaches out to pupils in all of Scandinavia:

The main goal of the project is to give students a deeper understanding of photosynthesis, respiration, and the biology and application of micro algae.

Biotech Academy is a web based platform for educational material, completely free of charge and can be implemented directly by the teachers in elementary- and high schools. In the school year of 2017 the platform has had more than 106.000 unique visitors each month.

www.biotechacademy.dk/alger

This project is called “The Green Revolution” and through four cases it describes how application of micro algae could potentially make industrial processes more efficient, green and sustainable. Furthermore, and most importantly, the project includes an experiment the teachers can use with the students in the classroom. The “Algae Droplet and Photosynthesis Experiment” consists of the following parts:

  1. The students mix the micro algae (Chlammydomonas reinhardtii) with sodium alginate and drip the mixture into calcium chloride resulting in small algae droplets (as you may know from fake caviar).
  2. The droplets are transferred to small plastic containers with a pH indicator.
  3. The color of the pH indicator will change accordingly to CO2 concentration and therefore the color depends on whether the algae are making photosynthesis or respiration.

The experiment gives a visual representation of the incredible process of photosynthesis and shows the students the importance of plants. The project emphasizes the essential nature of plants producing oxygen and participating in so many vital networks. This project can replace the “Elodea-experiment” which almost all public schools are currently using, with a much more visual and quantitative representation of photosynthesis. The understanding of the basic principles of plant biology and metabolism gives the students the tools required for understanding how plants can be applied in numerous industrial productions and vice versa.

SPPS provides the coverage of 300 kits to be ordered by teachers in Scandinavia, possibliy reaching up to 7500 pupils who can do this experiment. Teachers, please go to the Biotech Academy Homepage to order kits for your pupils!