ADVERTISEMENT

Veggies live on after being picked

The veggies on the produce shelf are still alive and kicking. That’s the conclusion of a study published in Current Biology, which shows that cabbages and other vegetables are capable of responding to their environment long after they’ve been plucked from the ground.

Researchers bought supermarket cabbages and exposed some of them to periods of light and darkness similar to what occur on the farm. Others were kept in either constant light or constant darkness. Those on a regular day/night cycle created up to three times as many glucosinolates as the other cabbages. These organic compounds help fend off pests in the wild – and, indeed, when the scientists exposed the cabbages to hungry caterpillars, the day/night cabbages were better able to fend them off. Glucosinolates are also anticarcinogenic. Consider that the next time you leave your veggies all alone in the cold, dark crisper.

3-D model reveals mysteries of tongue

We use our tongues whenever we speak or swallow, but much about how they work remains a mystery. Now, researchers have constructed a 3-D computer model of the human tongue that could help reveal its secrets. The model is based on data from the Visible Human Project, which froze a dead man and woman in blocks of gelatin in the 1990s and cut them into many thin slices to scan them.

Tongues operate bonelessly, like the tentacles of an octopus, with the motion of any lone muscle depending on the activity of surrounding muscles in a complex manner. The new model shows where each muscle is positioned in relation to each other and the jaw. A number of tongue muscles overlap so extensively that they might best be treated as a single entity.

ScienceNOW is the online daily news service of the journal Science.