The health benefits of oats are well documented in the scientific literature and oat is one of the few crops that has a health claim both in the US and in EU. The oat kernel contains relatively high levels of healthy fibre, fatty acids and anti-oxidants and oat proteins have a beneficial amino acid composition. Thus, it’s potential as a health crop for both man and livestock is very big.
The long-term applied aim of Chawade’s project is to produce a Swedish winter oat. In pure biological terms, this means an oat that has adapted to several different and simultaneous stress factors such as cold weather, frost, dryness and strong light. In molecular biological terms, this means that thousands of different genes need to be co-ordinated in an optimal way.
“From an environmental point of view, an autumn-sown crop is preferable as the ground isn’t left bare over winter, and this reduces leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients and hinders soil erosion. Furthermore, since winter crops are already established at the beginning of the growth season and harvested earlier than the spring sown crops, the use of pesticides and herbicides in the field can be reduced says Aakash Chawade at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Cell- and Molecular Biology. “An autumn-sown crop also tends to give a 20-25% higher yield than a spring-sown crop.”
In order to develop a winter oat, it is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms for how plants can adapt to changes in environmental conditions such as climate, soil and so on. It was therefore necessary to produce a hardier oat than any of the current oat lines to study which genetic adaptations have taken place.
“We studied winter field survival in hundreds of oat lines collected from various international winter oat breeding programs, and identified those lines that both survive the winter and grow well in southern Sweden,” says Chawade. “We then compared the hardiest of these lines with the spring oats that are now grown commercially and could identify a number of unique characteristics in the hardy varieties that could be linked to cold tolerance.”
The research group has also built up a unique population of mutagenised oats with so many mutations that they can theoretically identify mutations in any gene in the genome. They have demonstrated that this works in practice. This population will now be screened for lines with increased cold tolerance.
The thesis, Unravelling the complexity of cold acclimation in plants, was successfully defended at the University of Gothenburg.For further information, please contact:
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22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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