The problem is largely exasperated by intense agriculture and irrigation. Salinity drives the plant into water deficit and is accompanied by toxicity of sodium and chloride ions, resulting in restricted growth and reduction in yield. Moreover, salt stress causes a secondary oxidative stress, resulting in the more severe cases in plant death.
Through detailed laboratory studies, Prof. Alex Levine and his Ph.D. student Yehoram Leshem, of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University, were able to achieve a new understanding of the specific mechanisms by which plants deal with salt stress conditions.
Based on this knowledge, and through implementation of genetic manipulation techniques, Levine and Leshem were successful in significantly reducing the self-induced membrane damage that takes place under the plants’ stressful conditions. The altered plants were also shown to have greater salt tolerance.
The work by Levine and Leshem – published in a recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the U.S. -- not only has opened new insights into a basic understanding of plant responses to salt stress, but also points the way to new applicative pathways for plant breeders to improve salt tolerance in a broad spectrum of agricultural crops. It thus represents a significant step forward that can bring great economic and social benefit to many nations of the world.
Jerry Barach | alfa
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
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Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
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