Navigation Links
Changing climate likely to make 'super weed' even more powerful
Date:6/3/2009

Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered a new reason why the tall, tasseled reed Phragmites australis is one of the most invasive plants in the United States.

The UD research team found that Phragmites delivers a one-two chemical knock-out punch to snuff out its victims, and the poison becomes even more toxic in the presence of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

The study, which is published in the June issue of the scientific journal Plant Signaling & Behavior, is believed to be the first to report the effects of UV-B radiation on plant allelopathy, the production of toxins by a plant to ward off encroachment by neighboring plants.

The authors include Thimmaraju Rudrappa, a former postdoctoral researcher at UD who is now a research scientist at the DuPont Company; Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences; Yong Seok Choi, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering; Delphis Levia and David R. Legates, both associate professors in the Department of Geography; and Kelvin Lee, Gore Professor of Engineering and director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

The research was conducted in Delaware wetlands and in Bais's lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a major center for life sciences research at the University of Delaware.

"The toxin secreted by Phragmites is degraded by sunlight -- ultraviolet rays -- and causes severe deleterious effects on other native plants," Bais said.

"Our research also addresses the growing questions of increased UV-B incidences because of global warming and its ultimate effect on plants. In this case, an invasive plant is accidentally utilizing the changed global conditions for its survival and invasion," Bais noted.

Two years ago, Bais led a study which discovered that Phragmites actively secretes gallic acid to kill off plants and take over new turf. Gallic acid, also known as 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid, is used for tanning leather, making dyes and inks, and formulating astringents, among other applications.

In this research, the scientists found that the gallic acid released by Phragmites is degraded by ultraviolet light to produce another toxin, mesoxalic acid, effectively hitting susceptible plants and seedlings with a double-whammy.

The mesoxalic acid triggers a similar "cellular death cascade" in victim plants as gallic acid does, Bais said, destroying the tubulin and actin, the structural protein in the roots, within minutes of exposure.

The scientific team detected the biological concentrations of mesoxalic acid in Delaware wetlands, in stands of both exotic and native Phragmites australis. The study highlights the persistence of the photo-degraded phytotoxin, particularly potent in the exotic species of the plant, and its enhanced effects against the native species of Phragmites, which is becoming increasingly endangered in the United States.

Walnut trees, pine trees, ferns and sunflowers are among the plants that release harmful chemicals to prevent other plants from growing too close to them.

However, Phragmites uses this strategy not so much to keep other plants away, but to aggressively conquer them and invade new territory, Bais said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Changing climate will lead to devastating loss of phosphorus from soil
2. Satellite snow maps help reindeer herders adapt to a changing Arctic
3. Changing sexes on the sea floor
4. National Science Foundation forum to address ecological connectivity and climate in a changing world
5. Dont go changing: New chemical keeps stem cells young
6. Survival in a Changing World: The Journal of Experimental Biology 2009 symposium
7. Honey bees on cocaine dance more, changing ideas about the insect brain
8. CSHL researchers map changing epigenetic modifications that enable transposons to run amok
9. Biogeography, changing climates and niche evolution
10. Global warming is changing organic matter in soil
11. Fitness in a changing world
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Changing climate likely to make 'super weed' even more powerful
(Date:1/6/2017)... , Jan. 5, 2017  Delta ID Inc., a ... scanning technology for automotive at CES® 2017. Delta ID ... ) to demonstrate the use of iris scanning as ... authenticate the driver in a car, and as a ... driving experience. Delta ID and Gentex will ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... -- As part of its longstanding mission to improve genetic literacy ... released its latest children,s book, titled The One ... topics of inheritance and variation of traits that are part ... school classrooms in the US. The book ... Killoran , whose previous book with 23andMe, You ...
(Date:12/19/2016)... BARCELONA , España y TORONTO , 19 ... fusión con Northern Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de ... ensayos clínicos en varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples ... ... de su clase con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... delivery of product vigilance software to leading biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and ... is a fully 21 CFR Part 11-compliant email client designed to provide product ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017  ArmaGen, Inc., ... Schmidt , Ph.D., as chief executive officer, as ... directors. Dr. Schmidt brings to ArmaGen more than 17 ... research and development of biotherapeutics and pharmaceuticals. ... with the diverse experience and skillset necessary to ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... of Health (NIH) to update its Data Sharing Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading ... grant applications subject to the existing policy. AMIA recommended that NIH earmark funding ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... FireflySci Inc. is a go-getter type ... tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. The first is the amazing ... of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the world. , 2016 was a tremendous ...
Breaking Biology Technology: