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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
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Listen to 14 April
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 14 April 2005
Arabidopsis Thaliana. Picture from BBRSC
Arabidopsis thaliana experiments

Arabidopsis - a weed at the frontiers of science

Gardeners may have noticed the weedy arrival of mouse-eared cress in their herbaceous borders. But, weedkiller in hand, how many green fingered Britons appreciate the contribution this plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) makes to genetic science.

Thousands of researchers worldwide are currently studying every twist and turn of DNA along the weed's five chromosomes, for genetic insights that could benefit crops. But a new study, revealing that Arabidopsis possesses extraordinary powers to repair damaged genes, suggests important benefits across the plant and animal kingdoms.

Quentin Cooper discusses the massive contribution of this humble weed, with Dr Sean May of Nottingham's Arabidopsis Stock Centre, and Mike Holdsworth, Professor of Crop Science, at Nottingham University.

Food Shelf Life

Salting, pickling and canning may have preserved food for our forebears, but modern consumers want long lasting fresh food on the supermarket shelves.

Banks of extreme food experiments at Nottingham University's new food shelf life laboratories suggest new ways of preserving food for longer, point to powerful new preservatives from plants, and offer new technology to spot stale food before it fails the taste test.

At the Institute of Food Research, keeping food safe from bacteria is key. There the emphasis is on understanding how microbes spread in food and then preventing this happening.

Quentin Cooper discusses how to extend food's 'best before' and 'use by' date with Nottingham University's Prof of Flavour Technology, Andy Taylor, and food microbiologist Prof Tim Brocklehurst of the Institute of Food Research.
 
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