Researchers have demonstrated that unique fungi strengthen the “immune systems” of wheat and bean plants against aphids. Fungi enter and influence the amount of a plant’s own defences, resulting in fewer aphids. Results could serve to reduce agricultural insecticide usen.
With their expertise in microbiome research, researchers were able to demonstrate how a specific bacterium inside the seeds of rice plants effectively and in an eco-friendly way inhibits destructive plant pathogens.
The flag leaf is the last to emerge, indicating the transition from crop growth to grain production. Photosynthesis in this leaf provides the majority of the carbohydrates needed for grain filling—so it is the most important leaf for yield potential. A team of researchers found that some flag leaves of different varieties of rice transform light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates better than others. This finding could potentially open new opportunities for breeding higher yielding rice varieties.
Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world, providing 20 per cent of human calories; with ever increasing global food demand, increasing crop yield is critically important. Researchers have now created a new modified wheat variety that increases grain production by up to 12%.
Seed banks across the globe store and preserve the genetic diversity of millions of varieties of crops. This massive collection of genetic material ensures crop breeders access to a wealth of genetics with which to breed crops that yield better or resist stress and disease. But, with a world of corn genetics at their disposal, how do plant breeders know which varieties are worth studying and which ones aren’t?
A deadly wheat disease common to Asia and South America has been identified in Africa for the first time, raising fears of potential spread to wheat crops across the continent. Researchers say that the fast-acting and devastating fungal disease known as wheat blast was first spotted in Africa in the Zambian rainfed wheat production system in the 2017-2018 crop cycle.
Cereal crops exhibit two distinct types of branching which are the important determinants of crop yield. Crops such as maize and sorghum produce only one culm to reduce competition among sinks and increase the productivity of the main culm, thus exhibiting enhanced apical dominance. Rice and wheat produce multiple tillers (a type of branch that is similar in shape and height to the main culm) and exhibit weakened apical dominance.
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.
A team of scientists has completed one of the largest genetic analyses ever done of any agricultural crop to find desirable traits in wheat’s extensive and unexplored diversity.
Wheat currently contributes 20% of the world population’s calories and protein—and global demand is estimated to increase by 44% between 2005-07 and 2050.