Navigation Links
Underground solution to starving rice plants
Date:8/23/2012

Scientists have pinpointed a gene that enables rice plants to produce around 20% more grain by increasing uptake of phosphorus, an important, but limited, plant nutrient.

The discovery unlocks the potential to improve the food security of rice farmers with the lowest value phosphorus-deficient land allowing them to grow more rice to add to global production, and earn more.

The gene called PSTOL1 which stands for Phosphorus Starvation Tolerance helps rice grow a larger, better root system and thereby access more phosphorus. Farmers can apply phosphorus fertilizers to increase productivity but on problem soils phosphorus is often locked in the soil and unavailable to plants.

Also, phosphorus fertilizer is often unaffordable to poor farmers. Adding to the problem is that phosphorus is a non-renewable natural resource and rock phosphate reserves the source of most phosphorus fertilizers are running out.

"For many years we have searched for genes that improve phosphorus uptake," said Dr. Sigrid Heuer, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and leader of the team that published the discovery in Nature.

"We've known for a long time that the traditional rice variety Kasalath from India has a set of genes that helps rice grow well in soils low in phosphorus," she added.

Kasalath's superior performance under phosphorus deficiency was initially discovered by Dr. Matthias Wissuwa from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences. He then started collaborating with IRRI and shared the DNA information of Kasalath. The current research was supported and facilitated by the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program.

"We have now hit the jackpot and found PSTOL1, the major gene responsible for improved phosphorus uptake and understand how it works," Heuer said.

According to Dr. Wricha Tyagi at the School of Crop Improvement at the Central Agricultural University in the Indian state of Meghalaya, knowledge of the exact gene will be critical for future breeding programs suited to Eastern and North-Eastern parts of India where rice productivity is less than 40% of the national average due to acidic soil and poor availability of phosphorus.

The discovery of the PSTOL1 gene means that rice breeders will be able to breed new rice varieties faster and more easily, and with 100% certainty their new rice will have the gene.

Dr. Joko Prasetiyono, of the Institute for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Research and Development in Indonesia, is breeding rice plants with the PSTOL1 gene. The plants are not genetically modified just bred using smart modern breeding techniques.

"In field tests in Indonesia and the Philippines, rice with the PSTOL1 gene produced about 20% more grain than rice without the gene," said Heuer.

"In our pot experiments," she added, "when we use soil that is really low in phosphorus, we see yield increases of 60% and more, suggesting it will be very effective in soils low in phosphorus such as in upland rice fields that are not irrigated and where farmers are often very poor."

The PSTOL1 gene is also being tested in rice varieties for the more productive irrigated rice-growing areas and initial results show that the plants grow a better root system and have higher production too. This means it could help farmers in these areas reduce their fertilizer use and expenditure without compromising productivity.

The discovery also demonstrates the importance of conserving the genetic diversity of traditional crop varieties such as Kasalath. IRRI conserves more than 114,000 different types of rice in the International Rice Genebank.

The group of rice (the aus-type) that Kasalath is part of is also the source of the submergence tolerance gene, which IRRI has used to breed submergence-tolerant (Sub1) rice varieties that are being widely adopted across Asia.

New rice varieties with the enhanced capacity to take up phosphorus may be available within a few years to farmers.


'/>"/>
Contact: Sophie Clayton
s.clayton@irri.org
63-258-05600 x2204
International Rice Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Roots and microbes: Bringing a complex underground ecology into the lab
2. Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph
3. MIT research: Study finds room to store CO2 underground
4. Research reveals unique solution to gene regulation
5. Patterning defect-free nanocrystal films with nanometer resolution
6. Pilot Results Move GHX Closer to Delivery of Healthcare Industrys First Implantable Device Supply Chain Solution
7. Mathematicians find solution to biological building block puzzle
8. Citizen scientists to document biodiversity with high-resolution imagery during summer solstice
9. NineSigma Launches NineSights, the Worlds First Open Innovation Social Media Destination for Innovation Seekers and Solution Providers
10. uAttend Time Tracking Solutions Available at TimeClockDeals.com
11. Validity CTO to Present Natural ID Solutions for Improving Mobile Risk Management and User Experience at NFC Solutions Summit 2012
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading ... a new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and ... was introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference ... meeting point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations ... Fraud, waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... , Jan. 25, 2017 The Elements of ... (IAM) lifecycle is comprised of a comprehensive set ... purpose of maintaining digital identities and providing a ... applications. There are significant number of programs opted ... to time by optimizing processes and changing policies. ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , Jan. 24, 2017  It sounds ... baby,s sock that monitors vital signs and alerts ... an infant,s oxygen saturation level drops. But pediatric ... alarm to parents, with no evidence of medical ... devices are marketed aggressively to parents of healthy ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  In Atlanta, it seems everyone ... and culture intertwine to create an expressive and dynamic community ... this energy and contribute to it. With ... Hair Fairies seeks to carry on that tradition with ... Atlanta salon is the newest of 13 ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... David Nolte, PhD accepted Purdue University’s ... Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana. , The top commercialization award ... and success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue research. “This award is truly an ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... and SAN FRANCISCO , ... privately-held regenerative medicine company, and Beyond Type 1, a ... type 1 diabetes, today announced a grant from Beyond ... functional cure for type 1 and other insulin-requiring diabetes.  ... has been developing innovative stem cell-derived cell replacement therapies ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology, Inc. announced today its CEO, Tony ... Global Life Science Partnering Conference.  The presentation will take ... Torrey Pines Lodge, in San Diego.  ... have chosen our company, amongst numerous others, to present ... clinical researchers," said Mr. Chen. "In contrast to conferences ...
Breaking Biology Technology: