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 Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>