Known commonly as sunflower broomrape, the weed causes extensive damage to vegetable and row crops in Asia, Africa, and southern Eastern Europe. Lacking chlorophyll, it is a parasite and completely dependent on a host plant for water and nutrients. An infestation of broomrape in sunflower fields can reduce yields by 50%. Sunflower is one of the main oil crops in China, and in one county, over 64% of a sunflower field covering more than 24,000 acres is currently infested.
Several strategies have been tested to stop the damage caused by broomrape, including chemical and cultural methods. Previous studies have shown the utility of using trap crops, which induce germination of the unwanted seed but do not allow for development and survival of the parasite thus causing "suicidal germination." However, no single method of controlling broomrape has yet been shown to be effective and feasible for small farms.
In a study published in the Jan.-Feb. issue of Crop Science, Yongqing Ma and a research team from Northwest A & F University in China attempted to control broomrape infestation by using corn as a trap crop. Corn was a favorable option since both sunflower and corn can be grown in the same areas of China. While corn cannot be parasitized by broomrape, the scientists found that a hybrid line of corn and its parental lines induced significant germination of broomrape seeds. They suggest that corn lines could be produced specifically to be used as a trap crop, thus controlling broomrape infestations and producing a forage crop for livestock feed.
To study the effect of several corn varieties on broomrape germination, the researchers tested both hybrid and inbred lines. They found that one hybrid and its parental lines consistently induced the highest germination rates. While none of the corn varieties tested was bred to be a trap crop for broomrape, by analyzing these successful lines, it may be possible to produce even more efficient varieties, the researchers say.
The research team sampled the corn in multiple ways looking at the effects of root extracts, shoot extracts, and soil samples from around the roots. Root extracts generally caused more germination than the shoot extracts. Researchers think that this is because the chemical most likely responsible for causing germination, strigolactone, is made in the roots of the corn plant.
Using the results of their study, the scientists believe that a breeding program could be developed to make corn varieties that are even better at inducing suicidal germination in broomrape. It would also be possible to determine how the chemical that induces germination is made by studying these corn varieties.
Finally, the authors note that the benefit of using corn as a trap crop extends beyond its effects on broomrape. If corn is successful, it can be harvested for livestock feed and other uses thus optimizing the effort and cost to plant it.
Yongqing Ma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/abstracts/53/1/260.Crop Science is the flagship journal of the Crop Science Society of America. Original research is peer-reviewed and published in this highly cited journal. It also contains invited review and interpretation articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in crop science. For more information, visit www.crops.org/publications/cs
Yongqing Ma | EurekAlert!
For pollock surveys in Alaska, things are looking up
22.05.2015 | NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Brazilian Beef Industry Moves to Reduce Its Destruction of Rain Forests
13.05.2015 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
27.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.05.2015 | Health and Medicine
27.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy