Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique lab seeks drought-tolerant traits in cotton, other plants

Date:
June 27, 2011
Source:
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Summary:
As billion-dollar agricultural losses continue to mount in the withering Texas heat, scientists in Corpus Christi are taking a closer look at why some cotton varieties do better than others in drought conditions.

Dr. Carlos Fernandez checks leaves of a cotton plant being evaluated for its drought tolerance.
Credit: Texas AgriLife Research photo by Rod Santa Ana

As billion-dollar agricultural losses continue to mount in the withering Texas heat, Texas AgriLife Research scientists in Corpus Christi are taking a closer look at why some cotton varieties do better than others in drought conditions.

"We want to better understand those traits that control water use in plants so we can transfer that information to breeders and geneticists to more quickly develop drought-tolerant cultivars so badly needed here," said Dr. Carlos Fernandez, a plant physiologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Corpus Christi. Dr. Carlos Fernandez checks leaves of a cotton plant being evaluated for its drought tolerance.

Dr. Carlos Fernandez checks leaves of a cotton plant being evaluated for its drought tolerance.

To coax that information from nature, Fernandez designed and constructed a unique drought-tolerance greenhouse laboratory last year that is fully automated and computerized. The system closely tracks the water use and growth of various cotton varieties from planting to harvest, he said.

"All plants are treated equally," Fernandez said. "They all have the exact same amount of high-absorbent soil to remove that as a variation factor. Each also gets exactly the same amount of nutrient solution. We irrigate them daily up to a point when we stop or reduce irrigation to see how the plant reacts to the water deficiency."

Fernandez then precisely measures each plant's leaf area, stomatal density, water-conducting vessels, rooting systems and other characteristics. "We do this not only to look at the effects on water use and growth, but also the production of fiber and fiber quality."

The information and conclusions he develops are then shared with breeders and geneticists who may be able to provide growers with drought-tolerant cotton varieties.

"The idea is to tell them, 'Look at these plant traits that seem to confer a particular water economy in this cultivar. Look at this trait because in this cultivar it gives us this result.'"

Research using his greenhouse laboratory, which measures some 50 feet by 60 feet, is not limited to cotton, Fernandez said.

"This system can be used for other crops, but we're starting with cotton for obvious reasons, since it is such a large part of our agricultural production, and because water limitation is the most important yield-limiting factor here," he said.

The cooperative work of physiologists, geneticists and breeders on a single issue is something that hasn't been done in the past, Fernandez said.

"We are trying to generate the synergy of different disciplines working together to more quickly develop cultivars that will better tolerate the heat and water stresses that seem to be so prevalent lately."

Fernandez's AgriLife Research colleagues include Drs. Jane Dever and Steve Hague, cotton breeders in Lubbock and College Station, respectively.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Unique lab seeks drought-tolerant traits in cotton, other plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624182311.htm>.
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. (2011, June 27). Unique lab seeks drought-tolerant traits in cotton, other plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624182311.htm
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Unique lab seeks drought-tolerant traits in cotton, other plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624182311.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate 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
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 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:
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