You can’t see it, but different substances in the petals of flowers create a “bulls-eye” for pollinating insects. Now research sheds light on chemical changes in flowers which helps them respond to environmental changes, including climate change, that might threaten their survival.
Witchweed is considered by the United Nations to be a major impediment to poverty alleviation in Africa. The parasite attacks major cereal crops such as maize, sorghum, millet, sweetcorn and rice, latching on to their roots and draining the host of moisture and nutrients. Witchweed can lead to significant crop losses and can sometimes wipe out entire harvests. Damage to agriculture in Africa caused by the plant is estimated at approximately US$9 billion a year, with infestations affecting the lives of over 100 million people in 25 countries.
A team of researchers affiliated with a large number of institutions in China and one in Germany has found that turning off a certain gene in corn and rice can lead to improvements in crop yields. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes mapping the genomes of both plants as a way to search for genes associated with grain yield using CRISPR gene editing to improve yields in test crops.
A tremendous amount of research has been done to explore Si action in plants against drought, waterlogging, salinity, heavy metals, ultra-violet, as well as pathogenic and entomological attacks. While most studies address Si role in abiotic and biotic stress conditions, one question remains: Can Si be used to improve crop production in the absence of significant stress?
Plant hormones are well known for their important roles in plant development, including fruit development, and many researchers have devoted significant effort towards understanding the relationship between plant hormones and parthenogenesis. What are the latest research advances in hormones and parthenogenesis? What are the molecular mechanisms that underlie parthenocarpic fruit formation, specifically the role of plant hormones? Until recently, a current summary of this information was lacking.
Doctor X Nabat is the name of an application for the early detection of diseases and pests in horticultural crops, developed by an international team (Spain, Dubai, Egypt, Tunis, United Arab Emirates). This tool, aimed at farmers and agriculture experts, is available for devices with Android systems and computers. The tool has been tested in tomato, pepper and cucumber crops.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s population continues to grow, with the prediction that the population will double by 2050 and peak by 2100. This poses a challenge in meeting the demand for staple food in a region where self-reliance in cereal production, a major staple food, is the lowest globally in terms of productivity. As a result, cereal demand is projected to triple. Yet, cereal yields are very low, and the current consumption is already dependent on substantial imports, placing the continent at a great risk of food insecurity.
Many countries have set carbon neutrality as a policy goal, but according to a new study by an international team of researchers from Austria, Japan, and the US, there are various risks associated with the reduction of greenhouse gases, especially in the agriculture, forestry, and land use sectors, that need to be considered when formulating mitigation strategies.
Researcher assess the development and performance of more tailored approaches to fertilizer application within sub-Saharan Africa; solutions to overcoming the stumbling blocks that are preventing more widespread adoption are discussed.