Traditional fertilization practices and over simplified nutrient recommendations are directly tied to Nepal’s declining rice yields; researchers have introduced a promising new tool that is bridging the productivity gap through a more precise, farmer-participatory approach.
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.
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 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.
Researchers have shed light on the reproductive role of ‘dark matter’ DNA – non-coding DNA sequences that previously seemed to have no function.
Scientists have discovered two proteins in rice involved in pollen aperture formation which are essential in the successful pollination of flowering plants.
A protein hijacked from a bacterial pathogen helps to facilitate more precise genome editing in plants. A new genome editing system enhances the efficiency of an error-free DNA repair pathway, which could help improve agronomic traits in multiple crops.