Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Creating knowledge since 1502

Pollination is better in cities than in the countryside

Flowering plants are better pollinated in urban than in rural areas. This has now been demonstrated experimentally by a team of scientists led by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). Although the scientists found a greater diversity of flying insects in the countryside, more bees in cities resulted in more pollinated flowers of test plants. By far the most industrious pollinators were bumble bees, most likely benefitting from the abundant habitats available in the city. To promote pollination, the researchers recommend to take into greater account the needs of bees when landscape planning – both in cities and in the countryside. Their results have been published in the journal "Nature Communications".

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Advancing the application of genomic sequences through “Kmasker plants”

The development of next-generation-sequencing (NGS) has enabled researchers to investigate genomes that might previously have been considered too complex or too expensive. Nevertheless, the analysis of complex plant genomes, which often have an enormous amount of repetitive sequences, is still a challenge. Therefore, bioinformatics researchers from Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) have now published "Kmasker plants", a program that allows the identification of repetitive sequences and thus facilitates the analysis of plant genomes.

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Bringing back nature to the EU in the post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy

The rewilding of European ecosystems can help to tackle both the current climate and biodiversity emergencies. In a policy brief, experts from six organisations, including the German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), call on the European Commission to prioritise nature recovery in the EU Biodiversity Strategy post-2020.

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The claw disease tyloma is primarily genetic in cows

Scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Georg August University Göttingen have succeeded in proving that a claw disease in cows is primarily genetic. Until now, the occurrence of interdigital hyperplasia has mostly been attributed to poor hygiene conditions in the barn. However, a team led by Professor Hermann Swalve discovered a farm in which the disease occurred frequently and was able to identify the gene responsible. As a result, the disease may now be contained through selective breeding.

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Physicist Georg Woltersdorf appointed Max Planck Fellow – research project on spintronics

Professor Georg Woltersdorf, head of the Optics Group at the Institute of Physics at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has been appointed as a Max Planck Fellow for five years by the Max Planck Society in Munich. As a Max Planck Fellow, he will head a research group at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Microstructure Physics in Halle starting in January. They will use optical methods to investigate dynamic phenomena in novel (spin)electronic materials. The research will receive 500,000 euros in funding and will serve as a basis for applications in future storage devices.

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Researchers discover unique polymer fibres

Strong and tough yet as light as a feather – materials with this exceptional combination of properties are urgently needed in many industrial sectors and in medicine, as well as being of great interest for scientific research. A research team from the University of Bayreuth, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and other partners in Germany, China, and Switzerland, has now developed a formula for the easy-to-handle preparation of polymer fibres with precisely these properties. The scientists have published their findings in the journal "Science".

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Antibiotics: New substances break bacterial resistance

Researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new, promising class of active ingredients against resistant bacteria. In initial tests in cell cultures and insects, the substances were at least as effective as common antibiotics. The new compounds target a special enzyme that only appears in bacteria in this specific form and that was not previously the target of other antibiotics. This is why bacteria have not yet developed any resistance to it. The team reported on its work in the journal "Antibiotics".

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Our commitment to refugees

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg supports refugees eager to study by providing the following counselling services and measures.

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