Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Recycled Water, Salt-Tolerant Grass a Water-Saving Pair

29.06.2015

Breeders select for trait to conserve drinkable water

Plants need water. People need water. Unfortunately, there’s only so much clean water to go around — and so the effort begins to find a solution.


Photo provided by Stacy Bonos.

Differences in salinity tolerance among perennial ryegrass genotypes.

Luckily for people, some plants are able to make do without perfectly clean water, leaving more good water for drinking. One strategy is to use treated wastewater, containing salt leftover from the cleaning process, to water large areas of turf grass. These areas include athletic fields and golf courses. Golf courses alone use approximately 750 billion gallons of water annually in arid regions.

However, most plants cannot tolerate a lot of salt. As some areas of the United States run low on clean water, plant breeders are trying to breed plants that are more salt tolerant. This would conserve clean water while maintaining healthy turf.

Plant breeders can actually see the individual effect of what each parent plant passes on because the genes add intensity to the trait. These are additive effects. Breeders can more easily select for those features when they observe those differences.

“We found through a series of experiments that salt tolerance in perennial ryegrass is highly controlled by additive genetic effects rather than environmental effects,” said Stacy Bonos from Rutgers University. “This is great news for breeders because we now know salt tolerance can be more easily bred for.”

Bonos and her team measured salt tolerance using visual percent green color. This is the percentage of the plant that is green and actively growing as compared to brown, which would indicate that it is dead or dying.

“As a plant is affected by salinity it will start to turn brown,” explained Bonos. “It is an indication of their salt tolerance if they can continue to grow and have green tissue while the others turn straw colored and brown and start to die.”

Bonos and her team also conducted a series of experiments to confirm salt tolerance. One test looked at broad-sense heritability. This showed that the trait for salt tolerance has more genetic components than environmental ones.

“But there are a lot of things that make up the genetic components so we (also) use narrow-sense heritability to focus in on those components and see if they are mostly additive,” Bonos explained. “In this case they were and that’s important because as a breeder it means you can select for them.”

Two further experiments determined how successfully genetic factors pass to the plant’s offspring. For example, two plants may combine to pass on tolerance, but one of those parents may not pass on that same strong influence in a different cross. This gives breeders an estimate of which parents are better to use in crosses and confirms what type of gene effects are influencing salinity tolerance.

Bonos said the results show that when it comes to salt tolerance, additive gene effects are more important.

“All three of these experiments were really just different ways of getting to the same place and they all confirmed each other,” she said.

Bonos and her team are working to concentrate these genes for salt tolerance so turf grass can use more wastewater and less fresh water. They hope to eventually breed a marketable grass with high tolerance.

“It has the biggest implication for golf courses because there are some courses now that are required to water their grasses with wastewater instead of drinkable water,” she said. “That's where it most makes sense, especially in areas like Las Vegas where there may not be much drinkable water available to water your lawn. That's a prime example.”

Bonos works in the Department of Plant Biology & Pathology at Rutgers University. Her work was recently published in Crop Science. The research was funded by the United States Golf Association, OJ Noer Foundation, International Turf Producers Foundation, New Jersey Turfgrass Foundation, the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Contact Information
Susan Fisk
Public and Science Communications Director
sfisk@sciencesocieties.org
Phone: 608-273-8091

Susan Fisk | newswise
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org

Further reports about: Agronomy Soil Soil Science clean water golf courses grass salt tolerance tolerance turf grass

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New drug reduces transplant and mortality rates significantly in patients with hepatitis C

29.05.2017 | Statistics

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>