NUI Galway Lecturer Publishes New Book on Botany

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Botany students and scientists can now avail of a new book which explores plant cell walls. The book is edited by Dr Zoë Popper, lecturer in Botany and Plant Science, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. The Plant Cell Wall: Methods and Protocols consists of chapters, written by experts in the field, which detail current and state-of-the-art methods applied to investigate the many aspects of the plant cell wall. These include its structure, biochemical composition, and metabolism. Plant cell walls control nearly all plant processes including their growth and development, and ultimately how plants interact with their environment. However, understanding the cell wall is not only fundamental to the plant sciences but is also pertinent to aspects of human and animal nutrition and health, as dietary fibre is derived from cell walls. This area is also a major focus for agricultural research as cell walls are a target of many herbicides and biofuel research as cell wall components are the major deposit of useable renewable energy. Many familiar everyday products are derived from cell wall components, such as paper and cotton, are almost entirely cellulose and jams and jellies are set using pectins. Dr Zoë Popper, Lecturer with the School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway, said: "The increased interest in Plant Cell Wall research is just one aspect of Botany and Plant Sciences. Technological advancements, as well as specific government and EU policies, have led to a huge increase in the range and number of job opportunities within Botany and Plant Science. The teaching programme at NUI Galway is aimed at giving students opportunity and support to find out what aspects of this discipline most interest them whether it be algal and plant evolution and diversity, the industrial uses and applications of algae and plants, conservation and environmental protection, or the application of biotechnologies to these organisms". Dr Popper also pointed out that the NUI Galway Discipline of Botany has a flourishing seminar series and a student-run Botany Society (BotSoc) which will visit Poland this summer, and has strong collaborations with other disciplines within the School of Natural Sciences, College of Science, and National and International research groups. The Plant Cell Wall: Methods and Protocols is written in Methods in Molecular Biology series format. For over 20 years, biological scientists have come to rely on the research protocols and methodologies in the Methods in Molecular Biology series. The series was the first to introduce the step-by-step protocols approach that has become the standard in all biomedical protocol publishing. For further information on Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway visit www.nuigalway.ie/botany.
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