Navigation Links
Sun protection for plants

Scientists in Sheffield working on the fundamental biological processes of plants could make significant difference to the lives of farmers in many parts of the world. Using model plant species, such as the tiny weed Arabidopsis, the researchers have uncovered one of the processes used by the plants to protect themselves from potentially lethal environmental conditions. Their discoveries are now being applied to improve the productivity of bean farmers in South America and rice producers in Asia.

Very high levels of sunlight can be hazardous to plants, overwhelming their ability to photosynthesise. This effect is exaggerated when there is a shortage of water or extreme temperatures. The resulting damage to the delicate photosynthetic membranes in the plant leads to impaired growth, cell destruction and, eventually, plant death. The scientists, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have found that plants are able to turn unwanted absorbed light into heat by altering the structure of one of the proteins in these membranes. This unique nanoscale safety valve prevents plant damage by harmlessly dissipating the lethal excess radiation. This photoprotective process was found to be aided by a special carotenoid molecule called zeaxanthin and plants with higher levels of this molecule appear to be better protected.

Professor Peter Horton, research leader at the University of Sheffield, said, "Plants use a range of processes to adapt to harsh and potentially damaging environmental conditions. We are beginning to understand the mechanisms plants have at a molecular level to prevent damage from excess sunlight. We hope that this knowledge could be used to improve photosynthesis rates, and therefore productivity, in staple crops that feed millions in parts of the world where environmental conditions can be particularly harsh."

Professor Horton continued, "To fully apply this research to improving the productivity of crops we need to understand how these processes relate to plant growth and development in field conditions. Processes that may appear important in the laboratory may not be in the varied conditions of the field."

The researchers have been working with agricultural institutes in South America and the Asia to start to work out how their knowledge of the defence mechanisms in model plants such as Arabidopsis could be used to improve the photosynthesis rates of staple crops such as rice and the common bean.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, commented, "This demonstrates how research into fundamental biological processes has the potential to have a big impact on people's lives around the world. Many research projects supported by BBSRC provide fundamental information that can underpin improvements in staple crops both in the UK, as we face the effects of climate change, and overseas, where it can aid sustainable agriculture and improve food security."


'"/>

Source:Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council


Related biology news :

1. Key molecule in plant photo-protection identified
2. Sickle cell and protection against malaria
3. U.N. mulls the protection of Earths forests
4. UNC plant researchers discover proteins interact to form hair-trigger protection against invaders
5. Vaccine provides 100 percent protection against avian flu virus in animal study
6. Antioxidant selenium offers no heart-disease protection
7. Marrow-derived stem cells deliver new cytokine to kill brain tumor cells, offer protection
8. Researches discover gene critical for protection against septic-shock-induced death
9. Plant protection from cold decoded
10. Study: Living coral reefs provide better protection from tsunami waves
11. Protecting virus offers instant flu protection and converts flu infections into their own vaccines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... 2016 According to a new ... - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and ... to expand at a CAGR of 17.1% from 2016 ... Metabolomics is the extensive study of small ... or organisms. Together, these small molecules and their interactions ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... , ... In a list published by the Boston Business Journal, iLab ... a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The list examined companies based ... from 2012 to 2015. , As this award comes on the heels ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 ... Assessing Developers and Producers of Those Competitor Biologics  ... to Companies, Activities and Prospects ,  Who ... companies? And what are their sales potentials? Discover, ... you see results, trends, opportunities and revenue forecasting. ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... Meister ... mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world a taste ... a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites and Unmanned ...
Breaking Biology Technology: