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New concept for the world's best-selling textbook on plant physiology

Ian Max Møller and Simona Radutoiu from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University help redirect iconic plant science textbook toward solutions-based learning.

The iconic textbook "Plant Physiology and Development" has been extensively renewed as university teaching has changed drastically, as there is now a demand for online, interactive learning with science-based solutions to real-world problems.

It is not often that a foundational textbook is revamped in a big way, but the past few years have led university science instruction to a new nexus where online, interactive learning meets the demand for science-based solutions to real-world problems.

When the publisher and editors of the iconic textbook Plant Physiology and Development surveyed the global plant science community for comments on a planned seventh edition, the need to better connect the concepts of plant biology to emergent global issues was articulated as a top priority.

The three lead editors, Lincoln Taiz from the University of California, Ian Max Møller from Aarhus University, and Angus Murphy from the University of Maryland knew that they would want  to focus on making critical connections between how plants work and how science and technology can address global problems in food production, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability.

The book was midway through its redesign and rewrite when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The ensuing global conversion to online learning led to calls for the book to become more attuned to the needs of hybrid instruction. The structure and content of the Seventh Edition of Plant Physiology and Development has been transformed, so it could continue to be both a foundational textbook and an effective hybrid online resource.

A new way of learning

“The way that students learn is changing and there is a need for more integrative approaches to student instruction,” Murphy said. “Students are looking for knowledge and skills that enable career goals that align with saving the planet. They realize that knowledge of plant physiology and development is required for successful development of more resilient crops and food production systems that are under pressure from climate change, expanded pathogen and herbivore distributions, competition for limiting resources, environmental pollution, and disruptions of global supply chains.”

The book, published this summer by Oxford University Press is considered the authoritative text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students studying plant sciences and is used by university programs throughout the world. Promotional material from OUP states:

Mitigation of climate change, preservation of ecosystems, and adaptation of crop systems to prevent mass hunger will require an international interdisciplinary effort of enormous proportions, and plant biology will be right at the center of the action. As primary producers, plants provide habitat and food for the rest of the biosphere. Knowledge of the fundamentals of plant physiology will therefore be required to achieve meaningful interventions in key ecosystems. Above all, plants will play a central role in the achievement of global net zero carbon emissions.

To address climate change and the use of biotechnology, the book includes a discussion of nitrogen fixation written by AU’s Simona Radutoiu as well as highlight boxes, Web Topics, and Web Essays. One Highlight box, written by Simona Radutoiu, outlines the challenges and solutions for solving nitrogen deficiency in future agriculture.

The production of the book in both hard copy and enhanced E-book format led to the generation integrated Learning Objectives and Self-Assessment Quizzes for each chapter.

Plant Physiology and Development 7th Edition will be available as e-book and in printed form for the academic year 2022-2023.

For more information, please contact

Professor Emeritus Ian Max Møller
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
ian.max.moller@mbg.au.dk - +4520872100

It is not often that a foundational textbook is revamped in a big way, but the past few years have led university science instruction to a new nexus where online, interactive learning meets the demand for science-based solutions to real-world problems.

When the publisher and editors of the iconic textbook Plant Physiology and Development surveyed the global plant science community for comments on a planned seventh edition, the need to better connect the concepts of plant biology to emergent global issues was articulated as a top priority.

The three lead editors, Lincoln Taiz from the University of California, Ian Max Møller from Aarhus University, and Angus Murphy from the University of Maryland knew that they would want  to focus on making critical connections between how plants work and how science and technology can address global problems in food production, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability.

The book was midway through its redesign and rewrite when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The ensuing global conversion to online learning led to calls for the book to become more attuned to the needs of hybrid instruction. The structure and content of the Seventh Edition of Plant Physiology and Development has been transformed, so it could continue to be both a foundational textbook and an effective hybrid online resource.

A new way of learning

“The way that students learn is changing and there is a need for more integrative approaches to student instruction,” Murphy said. “Students are looking for knowledge and skills that enable career goals that align with saving the planet. They realize that knowledge of plant physiology and development is required for successful development of more resilient crops and food production systems that are under pressure from climate change, expanded pathogen and herbivore distributions, competition for limiting resources, environmental pollution, and disruptions of global supply chains.”

The book, published this summer by Oxford University Press is considered the authoritative text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students studying plant sciences and is used by university programs throughout the world. Promotional material from OUP states:

Mitigation of climate change, preservation of ecosystems, and adaptation of crop systems to prevent mass hunger will require an international interdisciplinary effort of enormous proportions, and plant biology will be right at the center of the action. As primary producers, plants provide habitat and food for the rest of the biosphere. Knowledge of the fundamentals of plant physiology will therefore be required to achieve meaningful interventions in key ecosystems. Above all, plants will play a central role in the achievement of global net zero carbon emissions.

To address climate change and the use of biotechnology, the book includes a discussion of nitrogen fixation written by AU’s Simona Radutoiu as well as highlight boxes, Web Topics, and Web Essays. One Highlight box, written by Simona Radutoiu, outlines the challenges and solutions for solving nitrogen deficiency in future agriculture.

The production of the book in both hard copy and enhanced E-book format led to the generation integrated Learning Objectives and Self-Assessment Quizzes for each chapter.

Plant Physiology and Development 7th Edition will probably be published online in the autumn of 2022, and will be available in print for the academic year 2022-2023.


For more information, please contact

Professor Emeritus Ian Max Møller
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
ian.max.moller@mbg.au.dk - +4520872100