Breeding ozone-tolerant crops

August 22, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists working with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that future levels of ground-level ozone could reduce soybean yields by an average 23 percent.

Randy Nelson, geneticist and research leader with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Soybean/Maize Germplasm, Pathology, and Genetics Research Unit in Urbana, Ill., and Lisa Ainsworth, a with the ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in Urbana, are screening soybean varieties for ozone tolerance and sensitivity in SoyFACE (Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment) experiments. They are working with Amy Betzelberger, a graduate research assistant in the Department of at the University of Illinois, and other University of Illinois colleagues.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

SoyFACE involves testing plants in open-air field conditions under atmospheric conditions predicted for the year 2050. At that time, ozone concentrations are expected to be 50 percent higher than today's concentrations.

During 2007 and 2008, Nelson, Ainsworth, Betzelberger and their colleagues tested 10 Midwestern soybean varieties that had been released between 1952 and 2003. The varieties were selected from initial tests of 22 cultivars and experimental lines evaluated for four years.

The researchers found that exposure to 82 parts per billion (ppb) ozone reduced by an average 23 percent across all 10 varieties. They also found significant differences in ozone tolerance among the varieties. This shows the potential for breeding more ozone-tolerant varieties.

Since have been rising for decades, the scientists initially thought that varieties developed more recently would be more ozone-tolerant. But the scientists didn't see any significant improvement in ozone tolerance in soybean varieties released since the 1980s.

Explore further: Discovering soybean plants resistant to aphids and a new aphid

More information: This research is described in the journal Plant, Cell and Environment.

Related Stories

Replicating Climate Change to Forecast its Effects

December 17, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are replicating the effects of climate change to see what the future holds for soybeans, wheat and the soils where they grow.

Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future

June 24, 2010

Human-driven changes in the earth's atmospheric composition are likely to alter plant diseases of the future. Researchers predict carbon dioxide will reach levels double those of the preindustrial era by the year 2050, complicating ...

Soybean genetic treasure trove found in Swedish village

July 29, 2011

The first screening by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists of the American ancestors of soybeans for tolerance to ozone and other stresses had an eye-opening result: The world superstars of stress resistance ...

Recommended for you

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, study finds

September 1, 2015

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline ...

Orangutan females prefer dominant, cheek-padded males

September 1, 2015

Unlike most mammals, mature male orangutans exhibit different facial characteristics: some develop large "cheek pads" on their faces; other males do not. A team of researchers studied the difference in reproductive success ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.