Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New discovery Could Stimulate Plant Growth and Increase Crop Yields

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at Durham University have discovered a natural mechanism in plants that could stimulate their growth even under stress and potentially lead to better crop yields.

Plants naturally slow their growth or even stop growing altogether in response to adverse conditions, such as water shortage or high salt content in soil, in order to save energy.

They do this by making proteins that repress the growth of the plant. This process is reversed when plants produce a hormone – called Gibberellin – which breaks down the proteins that repress growth.

Growth repression can be problematic for farmers as crops that suffer from restricted growth produce smaller yields

The research team, led by the Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology, and including experts at the University of Nottingham, Rothamsted Research and the University of Warwick, have discovered that plants have the natural ability to regulate their growth independently of Gibberellin, particularly during times of environmental stress.

They found that plants produce a modifier protein, called SUMO that interacts with the growth repressing proteins.

The researchers believe that by modifying the interaction between the modifier protein and the repressor proteins they can remove the brakes from plant growth, leading to higher yields, even when plants are experiencing stress.

The interaction between the proteins can be modified in a number of ways, including by conventional plant breeding methods and by biotechnology techniques.

The research was carried out on Thale Cress, a model for plant research that occurs naturally throughout most of Europe and Central Asia, but the scientists say the mechanism they have found also exists in crops such as barley, corn, rice and wheat.

The research was funded by BBSRC and is published in the journal Developmental Cell. It is the subject of pending patent applications and commercial rights are available from Plant Bioscience Limited, Durham's commercialisation partner for this technology.

Corresponding author Dr Ari Sadanandom, Associate Director of the Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology, in Durham University's School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, said the finding could be an important aid in crop production.

Dr Sadanandom said: "What we have found is a molecular mechanism in plants which stabilises the levels of specific proteins that restrict growth in changing environmental conditions.

"This mechanism works independently of the Gibberellin hormone, meaning we can use this new understanding for a novel approach to encourage the plant to grow, even when under stress.

"If you are a farmer in the field then you don't want your wheat to stop growing whenever it is faced with adverse conditions.

"If we can encourage the crops to keep growing, even when faced by adverse conditions, it could give us greater yields and lead to sustainable intensification of food production that we must achieve to meet the demands on the planet's finite resources."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria Between Foods
In a recent study researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers' homes and spread to the next item.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde Content in Foods
Korean researchers have determined the content of the toxic and carcinogenic aldehydes, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, in a variety of food groups.
Increasing Vitamin D Supplementation
New study from ETH Zurich finds that elderly women should consume more vitamin D than previously recommended during the winter months.
IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat
Processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions
Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.
Arsenic Found in Many U.S. Red Wines
A new University of Washington study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Plastic for Dinner
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos