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Helping Cotton Thrive In The Heat

Date:
December 7, 2004
Source:
USDA / Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Cotton grown in the United States comes from areas prone to periods of extremely high temperatures that can have a negative effect on cotton yield. Agricultural Research Service scientists Michael E. Salvucci and Steven J. Crafts-Brandner are developing technology to improve cotton yields in Arizona's extremely hot and dry summer environment.

Plant physiologist Steven J. Crafts-Brandner inspects a cotton plant that will be used in a heat-stress experiment.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb. Courtesy of USDA / Agricultural Research Service

Cotton grown in the United States comes from areas prone to periods of extremely high temperatures that can have a negative effect on cotton yield. Agricultural Research Service scientists Michael E. Salvucci and Steven J. Crafts-Brandner are developing technology to improve cotton yields in Arizona's extremely hot and dry summer environment.

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The ideal daytime temperature for cotton production is 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant also needs an adequate supply of water. In Arizona and other cotton-producing areas, daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F. Plant physiologists Salvucci and Crafts-Brandner have found that high temperatures can adversely affect the function of a plant enzyme called Rubisco activase, resulting in impaired photosynthesis and reduced yields.

At the ARS Western Cotton Research Laboratory in Phoenix, the scientists observed how Rubisco activase from plants adapted to various climates functioned at high temperatures. They discovered that the enzyme from plants adapted to the hot Arizona desert worked much better at high temperatures, compared to the enzyme from plants adapted to cold climates.

The research provides a scientific basis for improving the enzyme in crop plants such as cotton. The team is testing the hypothesis that plants engineered to contain Rubisco activase from a shrub adapted to the hot Arizona desert will perform more efficiently at high temperatures.

If successful, the research could improve the production of cotton in Arizona and across the U.S. Cotton Belt, and perhaps improve the performance of other crops that suffer from high temperatures.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Helping Cotton Thrive In The Heat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041122092640.htm>.
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. (2004, December 7). Helping Cotton Thrive In The Heat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041122092640.htm
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Helping Cotton Thrive In The Heat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041122092640.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

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