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Last update: May 2021

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SPS - Saclay Plant Sciences

Leguminous and oleaginous plants on the SPS program for the Fête de la Science 2016

October 14-16, 2016 - Moulon Gymnasium

For the “Fête de la Science 2016”, the Saclay Plant Sciences LabEx was once again present at the Science Village, in the Moulon Gymnasium, from October 14 to 16. As in previous years, various workshops took turns on the SPS stand in order to publicize our activities and, more broadly, make the public understand the value of studying plants.


2016 was declared “Year of the leguminous plants”. On Friday, through observations of preparations under microscopes and comparisons of plants, two PhD students explained why these plants are so particular to the 70 junior high school pupils who attended the workshop. Indeed, unlike most plants which can only uptake the nitrogen necessary for their development from the soil, the leguminous plants are also able to use atmospheric nitrogen through symbiosis with bacteria. Many leguminous plants, rich in proteins, are grown for food and feed (peas, lentils, soy ...) and these characteristics allow them to grow with less fertilizer and thus reduce the impact of these fertilizers on the environment.

Then, during the weekend, almost 2,000 visitors, young and old alike, were welcomed at the Science Village.

On Saturday, the SPS workshop offered them to discover strigolactones. Actually discovered in a leguminous plant, strigolactones are hormones which, although present in very small quantities in plants, play an essential role in their development and growth. And these hormones are not foreign to the colonization of land by the first plants, mosses, over 400 million years ago!

On Sunday, the public gathered around a workshop on oleaginous plants, the plants from which the oils used in food and chemical industry are extracted. Different games allowed many families to test their knowledge by trying to associate plants with their seed or fruit. After a lot of hesitation, bets and bread for oil-tasting, they finally achieved to associate oils with plants such as rapeseed, sunflower, walnut, olive tree... but also lesser-known plants such as flax or camelina.

Once again, SPS members have worked to provide the public with funny and high-quality activities.

The SPS LabEx would like to thank everyone involved in the organization, logistics and facilitation of these activities, including Benoit Alunni, Florian Lamouche, Quentin Barriere Peter Mergaert, Corine Enard, Jean-Denis Faure and Marine Froissard!

See you next year for new SPS workshops!