Sorghum secretes a compound known as sorgoleone that is instrumental in helping the plant combat weeds. But in a way it does its job too well. Certain crops don't grow well in fields where sorghum has been raised, causing problems for growers who want to plant different crops on those fields.
The research team at Oxford included molecular biologist Scott Baerson, chemist Agnes Rimando, research leader Stephen O. Duke, plant physiologist Franck E. Dayan, molecular biologist Zhiqiang Pan, and plant physiologist Daniel Cook, who now works at the ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Logan, Utah.
The team started with two pieces of evidence that helped them address the problem. Previous studies showed that sorgoleone is produced in the plant root hairs, and that a special type of enzyme within the plant plays a major role in sorgoleone production.
Using a strategy called sequence tagging, the scientists searched an established sorghum genome database for gene sequences associated with that class of enzymes. They found two gene sequences expressed in the plant root hair cells that produced the enzymes. When they silenced the two gene sequences, it dramatically reduced sorgoleone levels in the sorghum plants produced.
The results, published in The Plant Cell, could lead to sorghum lines without the soil toxicity problem, as well as lines with higher levels of sorgoleone that offer superior weed-fighting capabilities without posing environmental hazards.
This discovery will enable researchers to look for similar gene sequences in other crops to increase their natural pest-fighting capabilities and reduce the need for pesticides. Baerson and his colleagues have already identified similar sequences in rice that are involved in production of defense-related enzymes.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Dennis O'Brien | EurekAlert!
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences