Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Discover New Way to Boost Grain Crops’ Drought Tolerance

18.11.2004


UC Riverside Team Finds That Lowering Enzyme Increases Drought Tolerance in Corn



Researchers at the University of California, Riverside report the development of technology that increases the tolerance of grains crops to drought by decreasing the amount of an enzyme that is responsible for producing the plant hormone ethylene.

UCR Biochemist Daniel R. Gallie led the research, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation and the California Agricultural Experiment Station. The findings will be published in the December issue of The Plant Journal in a paper titled ACC Synthase Expression Regulates Leaf Performance and Drought Tolerance in Maize.


Ethylene is vital in regulation of plant responses to environmental stresses, such as flooding and drought, and to attack by pathogens. But often, ethylene initiates leaf death in response to adverse conditions, sacrificing less essential parts of a plant to protect the growing tip, responsible for producing flowers, the reproductive organs of plants. Gallie said that he and his research team have examined the role of ethylene during plant growth and development since 1997.

In the most recent study, conducted by UCR researchers and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, an Iowa-based developer and supplier of seed to farmers, the authors targeted ACC synthase, an enzyme required for the production of ethylene, screening thousands of plants for naturally occurring mutants that were deficient in the enzyme.

The researchers isolated several such plants, and one in particular that produced substantially lower levels of the hormone. Leaves from this mutated plant remained functional and maintained photosynthetic function longer than non-altered plants.

In addition, the plants were more resistant to the effects of adverse environmental conditions. Surprisingly, by reducing the level of ethylene, all the leaves of the altered plants contained higher levels of chlorophyll and leaf protein, and functioned better than control leaves. “Thus, they are better able to survive conditions of drought and remain productive,” said Professor Gallie, who led a research team that included UCR Colleague Todd E. Young and Robert B. Meeley, of Pioneer Hi-Bred. “Erratic rainfall and conditions of drought have plagued farmers from time immemorial, and are responsible for substantial losses in crop yield when they do occur.”

For several years, Gallie said, a number of studies on global climate have predicted an increase in global temperature, and regional conditions of drought, which may have already begun. “Increasing drought tolerance in crops is highly valuable to U.S. and world agriculture now, and will be even more critical as our environment continues to change as a consequence of global warming,” said Gallie.

The findings by Gallie and his research team suggest that ethylene controls the level of leaf function under normal growth conditions, as well as during adverse environmental conditions.

Gallie’s research with corn opens the door to producing crops better able to withstand periodic losses in rainfall, including grains, which are the most important direct source of food for livestock and for a majority of humans. “Our discovery will assist farmers who depend on rainwater for their crops during those years when rainfall is low, particularly those who grow crops in arid areas, such as exists in many developing [is he is okay with this change] countries,” said Gallie. “As global warming continues to change our own environment in the U.S., our work will be important in helping U.S. farmers continue to produce the food we need even as our climate becomes unpredictable.”

Future inquiries will most likely focus on how ethylene may regulate other aspects of plant growth and development, such as during flower development and root growth, Gallie added.

Ricardo Duran | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia
21.11.2017 | Allen Institute

nachricht Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

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

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos

21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>