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 Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>