Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Corn could help farmers fight devastating weed

07.01.2013
Versatile and responsive to management, corn is grown throughout the world for everything from food to animal feed to fuel. A new use for corn could soon join that list, as researchers in China investigate the crop's ability to induce "suicidal germination" in a devastating parasitic weed.

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.

... more about:
»Corn »crop »crop science »molecular genetic

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 mayongqing@ms.iswc.ac.cn

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

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives.

Yongqing Ma | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.crops.org

Further reports about: Corn crop crop science molecular genetic

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New model is first to predict tree growth in earliest stages of tree life
27.07.2016 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Two neonicotinoid insecticides may have inadvertent contraceptive effects on male honey bees
27.07.2016 | Universität Bern

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-assembling nano inks form conductive and transparent grids during imprint

Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.

To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...

Im Focus: The Glowing Brain

A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology

On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New study reveals where MH370 debris more likely to be found

27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences

Dirty to drinkable

27.07.2016 | Materials Sciences

Exploring one of the largest salt flats in the world

27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>