We've all heard of low-sugar and diet drinks. But have you heard of low-sugar and diet fruit?
Some folks probably think this sort of talk should be forbidden. To that, we say don't be a fruitcake. Or a fruit loop for that matter. Have a listen to the science. It might just bear some fruit.
University of Newcastle's Professor Yong-Ling Ruan, of the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, has been working for some time with colleagues from Northwest A&F University in China.
He's trying to make Fruit Loops healthy. We're kidding, we're kidding. That would be an impossible task. Actually, just thinking of eating Fruit Loops as a kid is making our teeth shudder in horror. We much preferred Rice Bubbles. Still do.
Anyhow, Professor Ruan and his colleagues have been studying apples and tomatoes. They've been working out how much sugar is transported to the so-called "vacuole" in a plant cell. If you're like us, you'll be wondering what a vacuole is. Well, think of it as like a "storage warehouse".
At the cellular level in plants, sugars are delivered to a cytoplasm. This is a "thick solution that fills each cell".
The remaining sugar is offloaded into the so-called warehouse.
"We found that glucose exported to the cytoplasm by a transporter called ERDL6 activates the expression of a major sugar influx gene. This significantly increases sugar levels in the plant cells," Professor Ruan said.
"Our findings represent a major advance in understanding the molecular control of sugar transport and signalling within plant cells."
Professor Ruan said the discovery provided "new tools and directions for improving plant growth, defence and sugar levels using gene technology."
"It opens the door to increase or reduce the amount of sugars in plants, helping farmers to increase the quality and yield of fresh products such as fruits and sugar cane or produce low-sugar, high sweetness fruit for a diabetic patient."
Thankfully, it doesn't open the door to make Fruit Loops any sweeter.
Novocastrian in the White House
Newcastle deputy mayor Declan Clausen told Topics he planned to raise this notice of motion at last night's council meeting. [The meeting was to begin after we went to press]
The motion was that council: Congratulates former New Castle County councillor Joe Biden on his election; notes that President Biden's political career began in 1970 as a councillor in New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware; notes that both Newcastle in Australia and New Castle in Delaware are part of the Newcastles of the World friendship network.
The motion also sought to congratulate President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the "decisive actions of their new administration, including in combatting COVID-19 and by returning the United States to the Paris Climate Change Agreement". It also noted that Australia's Ambassador to the United States, Arthur Sinodinos, is "a proud Novocastrian and an informal ambassador for Newcastle in Washington".
The motion also called for the council to write to the United States representative in Australia, Chargé d'Affaires Michael Goldman and Consul General to Sydney Sharon Hudson-Dean, "expressing the city's congratulations to the president and vice president and seeking to maintain the strong relationship between the City of Newcastle and the United States".
Wonder how that went down.
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