Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Creating knowledge since 1502

Researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation

Which plant species grow where, alongside which others? The diversity of global vegetation can be described based on only a few traits from each species. This has been revealed by a research team led by Martin Luther University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. In a new study published in the scientific journal "Nature Ecology & Evolution", they present the world`s first global vegetation database which contains over 1.1 million complete lists of plant species sampled across all Earth`s ecosystems.

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Physicists from Halle grow stable perovskite layers

Crystalline perovskite cells are the key to cutting-edge thin-film solar cells. Although they already achieve high levels of efficiency in the laboratory, commercial applications are hampered by the fact that the material is still too unstable. Furthermore, there is no reliable industrial production process for perovskites. In a new study physicists at Martin Luther University present an approach that could solve this problem. They also describe in detail how perovskites form and decay. The results could help produce high-performance solar cells in the future.

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Bacteria: Protein researchers decipher resistance mechanism

Worldwide, resistance to antibiotics is on the rise. In order to understand why bacteria are becoming immune to previously well-functioning drugs, scientists are penetrating ever deeper into the molecular structure of cells. A research group at Martin Luther University has now succeeded in isolating a membrane protein from the E. coli bacterium and shed light on its molecular structure. Armed with this information, they have been able to show how the bacterium manages to rid itself of the antibiotic by forcing out the drug.

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Psychologists study how couples handle laughter

Laughter plays an important role in romantic relationships – whether or not it's shared together or directed at the significant other. If partners handle laughter or being laughed at in a similar way, they tend to be quite content with their relationship. People who are afraid of being laughed at, on the other hand, are often less happy in their relationship. This also affects their partner and their sexuality, psychologists from Martin Luther University concluded in a study.

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Root extract makes worms to live longer

A root extract of the Fallopia multiflora, or Chinese knotweed, has special properties: it enables the nematode C. elegans to live longer and protects it from oxidative stress. This has been demonstrated in a new study by nutritional scientists at Martin Luther University. The researchers provide scientifically substantiated evidence for the effectiveness of this extract, which is primarily used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a dietary supplement.

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Species-rich forests store more carbon

Species-rich subtropical forests can take up, on average, twice as much carbon as monocultures. This has been reported by an international research team in the professional journal Science. The study was carried out as part of a unique field experiment conducted under the direction of Martin Luther University, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The experiment comprises forests grown specifically for this purpose in China.

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Cocoa: a tasty source of vitamin D?

Many people do not get enough vitamin D. Brittle bones and an increased risk of respiratory diseases can be the result of a vitamin D deficiency. A research group at Martin Luther University and the Max Rubner-Institut has now identified a new, previously unknown source of vitamin D2: cocoa and foods containing cocoa have significant amounts of this important nutrient. According to the researchers, cocoa butter and dark chocolate have the highest amount of vitamin D2. They recently published their results in the journal "Food Chemistry".

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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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