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.

Related Articles


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 March 31, 2015 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 March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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