Stressed plants say it with flowers

Jul 30, 2013
Stressed plants say it with flowers

With the world's population expected to reach nine billion by 2050 and hotter, drier conditions due to climate change, researchers are racing against time to develop new crop varieties and to ensure there will be enough food to feed the planet.

Two PhD research projects at The University of Western Australia have yielded important information about how some plants adapt to both drought and heat at the flowering stage.

The findings could lead to a rapid way to identify which plant genotypes protect their flower parts from hot , and help ensure grain production even in areas which experience less rain and higher temperatures. The research was published in recent issues of Functional Plant Biology (drought research) and The Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science (heat research).

Lead author of the paper in Functional Plant Biology, Ms Yi Ming Guo - who is on a UWA travel scholarship at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany - is a PhD candidate in UWA's School of Plant Biology and The UWA Institute of Agriculture. With her PhD supervisors at UWA, she studied the leaves and flowers of a common plant family, Brassica, which is renowned for its diversity of species and contribution to the world's mustard and canola oil markets, and vegetable production.

The team found that some genotypes tolerate drought better than others because they have mechanisms to protect their against water deficit. They also discovered that measuring floral bud temperature was far less time-consuming and non-destructive than traditional ways of assessing in plants.

UWA researcher Annisa, lead author of the paper in The Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, was supported by UWA's School of Plant Biology and The UWA Institute of Agriculture and by an Australian Development Scholarship Award. She is now working at Padjadjaran University in Indonesia.

With her UWA supervisors, she found for in Brassica rapa seed formation and seed yield. They discovered that a leafy vegetable type of Brassica rapa from Indonesia was the most tolerant of high temperatures during flowering, followed by an oilseed type from Pakistan.

Explore further: Iberian pig genome remains unchanged after five centuries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Strawberry fields forever and fungus-free

May 22, 2013

(Phys.org) —Strawberries are one of the most economically important berry crops in the world, and a high value export crop for the Australian horticultural industry.For the first time, researchers at The ...

New chickpeas set to revive Australian pulse industry

Sep 13, 2012

Two new varieties of chickpea developed by researchers at The University of Western Australia are expected to take the Indian market by storm and turn the tide for an industry that has struggled to recover ...

Fertilisers play key role in reducing crop pests

Jul 16, 2013

While "preventative medicine" is well-known in human health, it's becoming a buzz word in crop production as researchers discover how the risks of damage by pests and diseases may increase if crops don't ...

Recommended for you

Iberian pig genome remains unchanged after five centuries

15 hours ago

A team of Spanish researchers have obtained the first partial genome sequence of an ancient pig. Extracted from a sixteenth century pig found at the site of the Montsoriu Castle in Girona, the data obtained indicates that ...

New concepts based on advances in animal systematics

18 hours ago

The way in which most multicellular organisms have been classified has been the same for more than a century. Only recently have scientists developed the tools and knowledge to question the way we classify ...

New dawn for pasta wheat in Australia

21 hours ago

The University of Adelaide's durum breeding program today at the Hart Field Day will release a new durum wheat variety called DBA-Aurora which promises a step-change in potential durum production in southern Australia.

User comments : 0