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!
New model is first to predict tree growth in earliest stages of tree life
27.07.2016 | University of Missouri-Columbia
Two neonicotinoid insecticides may have inadvertent contraceptive effects on male honey bees
27.07.2016 | Universität Bern
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
11.07.2016 | Event News
27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences
27.07.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences