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Book reviews
without doubt, essential reading for those involved, in
one way or another, with the state of the world.
L Tedesco
Introduction to plant physiology
2nd edition
Edited by WG Hopkins
Wiley, Chichester, 1999
pp xiii ‡ 512, price £28.50
ISBN 0-471-9281-3
Plant physiology underwent a signi®cant decline as a
topic for research and teaching in the 1980s and early
1990s, with many plant biologists moving into the new
discipline of molecular genetics. Indeed, there was
concern in the UK that the decline might be terminal,
and speci®c measures were discussed to ensure the
survival, if not the rejuvenation, of the patient.
Fortunately, the pendulum has now swung back, with
molecular genetics and genomics being rightly regarded as tools to explore physiological and biochemical processes at the molecular and genetic levels,
giving rise to the currently fashionable `hybrid'
disciplines of `molecular physiology' and `functional
genomics'. This view is clearly apparent in the second
edition of this undergraduate text, which considers
plant physiology in its widest sense, ranging from gene
structure and expression through metabolism and
development to environmental physiology and biotechnology. Nevertheless, the approach remains
focused on the integration of processes in the whole
The author has retained the basic structure of the
®rst edition, published in 1995, but the volume has
inevitably been expanded, mainly to incorporate new
information resulting from molecular genetic studies.
The ®rst chapter provides an introduction to the basic
structure of plant cells, tissues and organs, with brief
descriptions of their major biochemical components
(proteins, lipids and carbohydrates). This sets the
scene for the remaining chapters, 22 in total, which are
grouped into four parts covering nutrition and water
relations, photosynthesis and carbon metabolism,
development, and stress physiology and biotechnology. New or expanded sections have been added to
cover aquaporins, carotenoids, hormone action, insects and diseases, and biotechnology, with a wholly
new chapter on secondary metabolites (terpenoids,
glycosides, phenolics, alkaloids).
In order to assist the student, each chapter is
concluded with a summary and a series of review
questions which can be used as a basis for revision (or
to set examination questions). In addition, a limited
number of references and suggestions for further
reading are included, focusing largely on review
articles or books.
The volume is well organised and indexed, easy to
J Chem Technol Biotechnol 74:1315±1318 (1999)
read and attractively produced. It is an ideal text for
introductory courses in plant physiology and biochemistry, giving a broad and well-balanced account
and providing a good basis for more detailed studies. It
will also be useful for other plant scientists who wish to
keep abreast of advances in a rapidly expanding and
rejuvenated branch of biology.
PR Shewry
Food emulsions and foams. Interfaces,
interactions and stability
Edited by E Dickinson and JM Rodrı́guez Patino
The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 1999
pp x ‡ 390, price £85.00
ISBN 0-85404-753-0
Foams and emulsions have attracted the interest of
individual scientists for at least 350 years, going back
to the time when Robert Boyle discussed the whiteness
of a foam made out of the white of an egg as opposed to
the transparency of its constituting liquid.
In recent years, however, a signi®cant rise in interest
has established a broad community of researchers in
foams and emulsions. This has also led to an
increasing number of conferences and meetings
dedicated to the subject.
The Proceedings of one of these conferences (held
on 16±18 March 1998 in Seville, Spain) with a focus
on food emulsions and foams have now been published
by The Royal Society of Chemistry, edited by Eric
Dickinson and JM RodrõÂguez Patino. Divided into
three sections (1. Dispersions, 2. Fluid±¯uid interfaces, 3. Rheology of food colloids), 30 articles by
authors from both industry and academia cover a
broad range of subjects and also of scienti®c methods.
Numerical studies of the process of gelation and
computer simulations of the rheology of particle gel
systems stand next to interferometry measurements of
oscillating emulsion ®lms. Physical measurement
techniques of the viscoelastic behaviour of emulsions
are found side by side with the chemical analysis of
protein composition at oil±water interfaces. This
variety of approaches, however, is not untypical for
the subject of emulsions and foams in general.
Food emulsions and foams are frequently stabilised
by proteins, which thus feature in many of the articles.
However, the properties of this foodstuff do not
necessarily differ from those of surfactant-based
(non-food) emulsions and foams. This leads to some
food scientists now turning to the physics of such
materials in general. (At a recent meeting of brewers
and other beer specialists the reviewer heard the
provocative remark that `generations of biochemists
had done less for beer foam than the widget'.) These
scientists discover that some of their experimental
studies are explicable in terms of physical toy models
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