Vitamin E is a potential antioxidant that could act as a sentinel in plants, sending molecular signs from chloroplast –a cell organelle- to the nucleus. This flow of information reaching the cell nucleus –retrograde signalling- is a molecular mechanism that would ease the adaptive response of plants in physiological stress situation (salinity, lack of nutrients, drought, senescence, etc.).
For a plant to thrive, it needs the help of a friendly fungus–preferably one that will dig its way deep into the cells of the plant’s roots.
A new paper shows that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are especially helpful to the plants they colonize.
Scientists knew that plants wage chemical war against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Now they’ve learned how to “vaccinate” tomato plants with a natural chemical to boost their defenses against a pest that makes leaves shrivel up and die.
Study may spawn ways to genetically alter and control red seaweeds. You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae: An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago.
There are over 500,000 plant species in the world today. They all evolved from a common ancestor. How this leap in biodiversity happened is still unclear. An international team of researchers presents the results of a unique project on the evolution of plants. Using genetic data from 1,147 species the team created the most comprehensive evolutionary tree for green plants to date.
A collaborative research group has succeeded in identifying an important transcription factor, GCAM1, which allows liverwort plants to asexually reproduce through creating clonal progenies. Furthermore, this transcription factor was revealed to have the same origin as those which regulate secondary bud formation in angiosperms.
Scientists have put elite wheat varieties through a sort of “Photosynthesis Olympics” to find which varieties have the best performing photosynthesis. This could ultimately help grain growers to get more yield for less inputs in the farm.
“In this study we surveyed diverse high-performing wheat varieties to see if their differences in photosynthetic performance were due to their genetic makeup or to the different environments where they were grown,” said lead researcher Dr Viridiana Silva-Perez from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP).
The scientists found that the best performing varieties were more than 30 percent better than the worst performing ones and up to 90 percent of the differences were due to their genes and not to the environment they grew in.
“We focused on traits related to photosynthesis and found that some traits behaved similarly in different environments. This is useful for breeders, because it is evidence of the huge potential that photosynthesis improvement could have on yield, a potential that hasn’t been exploited until now,” says Dr Silva-Perez.
During the study, published recently in the Journal of Experimental Botany, the scientists worked in Australia and Mexico, taking painstaking measurements in the field and inside glasshouses.
“The results that we obtained from our “Photosynthesis Olympics”, as we like to call them, are very exciting because we have demonstrated that there is scope to make plants more efficient, even for varieties working in the best conditions possible, such as with limited water and fertiliser restrictions. This means for example, that breeders have the potential to get more yield from a plant with the same amount of nitrogen applied,” says CoETP Director Professor Robert Furbank, one of the authors of this study.
Photosynthesis – the process by which plants convert sunlight, water and CO2 into organic matter – is a very complex process involving traits at different levels, from the molecular level, such as content of the main photosynthetic enzyme Rubisco, to the leaf, such as nitrogen content in the leaf and then to the whole canopy.
“This work is an important result for the CoETP, which aims to improve the process of photosynthesis to increase the production of major food crops such as wheat, rice and sorghum. There is a huge amount of collaboration, both institutional and interdisciplinary, that needs to take place to achieve this type of research. Without the invaluable cooperation between statisticians, plant breeders, molecular scientists and plant physiologists, we would have never achieved these results,” says co-author Tony Condon from CSIRO and the CoETP.
Read the paper: Journal of Experimental Botany
Article source: Arc Centre Of Excellence For Translational Photosynthesis
Author: Natalia Bateman
Image credit: Dr Viridiana Silva-Perez/COETP
For the first-time we can take a molecular-level look at one of the world’s deadliest crop killers. The Luteoviridae are pathogenic plant viruses responsible for major crop losses worldwide. Transmitted by aphids, the viruses infect a wide range of food crops including cereals, legumes, cucurbits, sugar beet, sugarcane and potato.
A new study has identified a family of genes in cyanobacteria that help control carbon dioxide fixation. The discovery furthers our basic knowledge of photosynthesis. It also opens new doors to design systems for sustainable biotech production.
A newly discovered protein turns on plants’ cellular defence to excessive light and other stress factors caused by a changing climate, according to a new study. Understanding how plants respond to stressors may allow scientists to develop ways of protecting crops from increasingly harsh climate conditions.