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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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