Séminaire Institut

Mercredi 3 Juillet 2024 à 11h00.

The activity and functionality of dead plant material

Michaela Eder
(Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces)

Salle Fontannes

Invité(e) par
Maroun Abi Ghanem

présentera en 1 heure :

Plant cells, encased by the cell wall, are known for their intrinsic multifunctionality and activity, which changes with time and environmental conditions. Despite developmental changes in living cells, dead cells have mechanisms to perform tasks autonomously, to actively respond to environmental triggers such as temperature or humidity. Functionality is mainly based on structural differences rather than chemical composition. Our work focuses on understanding plant materials by studying their structure from the nano- to the cm-level. At the same time, we make use of the history that the material has experienced in the past by working with ecologists and collecting samples directly from the field.
In the talk I will discuss this approach using the example of banksia seed pods that release their seeds upon two triggers: fire and water, and the example of wood, its diversity and why this diversity is necessary for the functionality of the tree and is seen as a drawback for applications. The challenge of harnessing this variability can be met through a dual approach: a deep understanding of the natural material and its role in the plant organism, and creative experimentation to break new ground. Here, new insights into the relationship between water, cell wall structure, swelling and mechanical properties are presented to illustrate the property space of secondary cell wall-based materials.


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