The national wheat improvement program in India has contributed significantly toward achieving food security since the advent of the green revolution in the 1960s. However, for the sustainable wheat production in this era of climate change, high yielding thermo-tolerant varieties with durable disease resistance, and with the capacity to produce more with less of water and fertilizers are urgently needed. Recently, the first study conducted on comprehensive and systematic evaluation of ~22,000 accessions of wheat was published.
The cultivation of vanilla in Madagascar provides a good income for small-holder farmers, but without trees and bushes the plantations can lack biodiversity. Agricultural ecologists have investigated the interaction between prey and their predators in these cultivated areas.
Researchers know how to make precise genetic changes within the genomes of crops, but the transformed cells often refuse to grow into plants. One team has devised a new solution.
Cocoa is in great demand on the world market, but there are many different ways to increase production. A research team has now investigated the relative importance of the use of pesticides, fertilisers and manual pollination in a well replicated field trial in Indonesian agroforestry systems. The result: an increase in both cocoa yield and farming income was achieved – not by agrochemicals, but by manual pollination.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is a crop of great economic and agricultural value throughout the world. In 2019, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported that over 7 million hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of this crop, resulting in the global production of about 78 million tonnes of grape and 292 million of hectolitres of wine. However, a production of this magnitude is possible thanks to the massive use of pesticides to counteract various diseases that can affect grape yield. Indeed, pesticide applications are at the basis of intensive agriculture, as they guarantee protection from pathogens, pests and weeds. In absence of pesticide applications, farmers could experience up to 40% of production losses in a single year.
A new field of research in microbiology is transforming the way scientists see fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms. Microbiome research is so promising that it has drawn attention from funders and industry as well as scientists. In the United States alone, the market for microbiome-based agricultural products is expected to be worth more than $10 billion by 2025. Research on the human microbiome has surpassed $1.7 billion in the past decade.
Widespread fungal disease in plants can be controlled with a commercially available chemical that has been primarily used in medicine until now. In a comprehensive experiment the team has uncovered a new metabolic pathway that can be disrupted with this chemical, thus preventing many known plant fungi from invading the host plant.
The collaboration revealed that the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi provides nitrates to plants, which could lead to reduced fertilizer use.
A research group has succeeded in greatly increasing the catalytic activity of Rubisco, the enzyme which fixes carbon from CO2 in plant photosynthesis. The research team also hypothesized the mechanism which determines the catalytic activity of Rubisco, based on structural analysis of the proteins.
An international team of researchers led by biologists has examined how seed formation is coordinated with fruit growth. In their report, they explain the genetic control mechanisms underlying the process. If you open up a pea pod, you will find that all of the peas inside are the same size and the same distance apart. The same is true of princess beans, runner beans and soybeans as well as various other peas and beans, and it also applies to non-pulses. This is surprising because both the seed size and number and the pod size differ substantially from one variety to the next.