Farmers usually plant so-called cover crops after harvesting their main crop in the Fall. This prevents erosion of the soil and nutrient leaching. The roots of these crops also stabilize the structure of the soil. It had been assumed up to now that a mixture of different cover crops would result in particularly intensive rooting. However, a recent study found only limited evidence that this is the case. Instead, mixed cover crops grow thinner roots than when just one single type of cover crop is planted. This result was unexpected. It documents how little is currently understood about the interactions between plant roots.
Researchers inoculated oilseed rape plants with a species of fungus that is known for its ability to combat pest insects. Utilising the relationship between beneficial fungi and crop plants may introduce a new era of agriculture where the plant resilience is improved and the ecological footprint of traditional/chemical pesticides is minimised.
Developing disease-resistant, high-quality improved crop varieties to benefit agricultural producers and consumers may seem like a “hairy” task, but scientists may have gotten to the root of the issue.
Generating haploid plants for the purpose of obtaining pure double haploid lines is widely recognized as one of the most efficient breeding strategies in modern agriculture. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), an important fruit crop known for its nutritional value and flavor, has undergone long-term artificial selection resulting in genetic narrowing. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a haploid induction system to enhance traditional breeding methods and facilitate the development of valuable lines.
Comparing with allopolyploid speciation, there are fewer cases of homoploid hybrid speciation. Although transient homoploid hybridization events have been detected in many plant genera, solid evidence from genomic data is scare.
New knowledge of ancient grain may enable breeding for climate change adaptation. An international team of researchers has unlocked a large-scale genomic analysis of Setaria or foxtail millet, an important cereal crop. The study advances our understanding of the domestication and evolution of foxtail millet, as well as the genetic basis for important agricultural traits.
Tomatoes, bananas, cabbages, melons, pumpkins and cucumbers… are just some of the 150 crops of commercial interest that are victims of Fusarium oxysporum, one of the most important pathogens in the world due to the millions of dollars in losses it is responsible for and its ability to attack different types of plants. Although it can go unnoticed in the soil for more than 30 years, when it detects the roots of a host plant, it grows towards them, colonizing its vascular system and causing crops to wilt.
Aging is a part of life, and plants are no exception. The life cycle of a plant is felt in genebanks that store plant materials, such as seeds. Plant materials in genebanks may be accessed by farmers, researchers, conservationists, and others for breeding. But for a genebank to provide useful germplasm to growers, the seeds stored there must be alive when harvested. And as the stored seeds start to age, fewer and fewer of them live long enough to germinate. So, genebanks must continuously monitor stored seeds to ensure they haven’t aged beyond their ‘expiration date’ and lose ability to germinate.
A machine vision system capable of locating and identifying apple king flowers within clusters of blossoms on trees in orchards was devised by researchers — a critical early step in the development of a robotic pollination system — in a first-of-its-kind study.