get involved - we need your help!

Citizen Science

help us discover new bio-based chemical factories

Project #ChemicalBloom

Plants put on an amazing chemistry show every day - just look closely! Many species across the globe cover themselves in visible layers of white, powdery substances. While we are still working to understand exactly why plants do this, we do know a bit about these "chemical blooms": in some cases they protect the plant from UV light (like sunscreen), and in other cases help keep away insects (like bug spray).

Though the identity of the chemical that makes up a particular plant's chemical bloom varies from plant to plant, each bloom is almost always very pure. This means that the cells on the plant's surface are incredible biochemical factories that are specialized in making the compound that makes up that plant's bloom. The goal of this project is to understand all the different types of chemical compounds that these biochemical factories can generate. To make this happen, we need your help!

There are two ways you can participate: (i) send us photos of chemical blooms via Twitter (@PlantsRChemists, #ChemicalBlooms), Instagram (@chemical_blooms; #ChemicalBlooms), or email ( Alternatively you can (ii) email for a free bioprospecting kit - then you can sample the chemical blooms you find and, using the included stamped envelope, mail them back to the project headquarters for analysis. You will receive a summary of your results and an offical bioprospector certificate. Your results will also be posted on the project website. See below for a summary of our results so far!

Project #ChemicalBloom Inventory