Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tapping into sorghum's weed-fighting capabilities to give growers more options

Date:
June 15, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
By unlocking the genetic secrets of sorghum, scientists have found a way to make one of the world's most important cereal crops a better option for growers.

ARS molecular biologist Zhiqiang Pan is part of team that has found two gene sequences controlling sorghum's production of sorgoleone, a compound that stops weeds from growing nearby but may also keep some crops from growing well in fields where sorghum has been raised.
Credit: Peggy Grebb

By unlocking the genetic secrets of sorghum, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have found a way to make one of the world's most important cereal crops a better option for growers. Researchers at the ARS Natural Products Utilization Unit in Oxford, Miss. also may have opened a door to reducing pesticide use in the production of other crops.

Sorghum secretes a compound known as sorgoleone that is instrumental in helping the plant combat weeds. But in a way it does its job too well. Certain crops don't grow well in fields where sorghum has been raised, causing problems for growers who want to plant different crops on those fields.

The research team at Oxford included molecular biologist Scott Baerson, chemist Agnes Rimando, research leader Stephen O. Duke, plant physiologist Franck E. Dayan, molecular biologist Zhiqiang Pan, and plant physiologist Daniel Cook, who now works at the ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Logan, Utah.

The team started with two pieces of evidence that helped them address the problem. Previous studies showed that sorgoleone is produced in the plant root hairs, and that a special type of enzyme within the plant plays a major role in sorgoleone production.

Using a strategy called sequence tagging, the scientists searched an established sorghum genome database for gene sequences associated with that class of enzymes. They found two gene sequences expressed in the plant root hair cells that produced the enzymes. When they silenced the two gene sequences, it dramatically reduced sorgoleone levels in the sorghum plants produced.

The results, published in The Plant Cell, could lead to sorghum lines without the soil toxicity problem, as well as lines with higher levels of sorgoleone that offer superior weed-fighting capabilities without posing environmental hazards.

This discovery will enable researchers to look for similar gene sequences in other crops to increase their natural pest-fighting capabilities and reduce the need for pesticides. Baerson and his colleagues have already identified similar sequences in rice that are involved in production of defense-related enzymes.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Cook, A. M. Rimando, T. E. Clemente, J. Schroder, F. E. Dayan, N. P. D. Nanayakkara, Z. Pan, B. P. Noonan, M. Fishbein, I. Abe, S. O. Duke, S. R. Baerson. Alkylresorcinol Synthases Expressed in Sorghum bicolor Root Hairs Play an Essential Role in the Biosynthesis of the Allelopathic Benzoquinone Sorgoleone. THE PLANT CELL ONLINE, 2010; 22 (3): 867 DOI: 10.1105/tpc.109.072397

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tapping into sorghum's weed-fighting capabilities to give growers more options." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615151122.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, June 15). Tapping into sorghum's weed-fighting capabilities to give growers more options. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615151122.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tapping into sorghum's weed-fighting capabilities to give growers more options." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615151122.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins