Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Grain crops with lower carotene levels are less affected by parasitic plants

Date:
January 16, 2012
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Grain crops that produce less carotene can produce more food, especially in Africa, as they are less affected by parasitic plants. Agricultural researchers studied processes and technologies that could improve the control of the parasitic weed Striga both in the lab and in the field. He discovered that rice plants that produce less carotene than usual are less infected by the Striga parasite.

Grain crops that produce less carotene can produce more food, especially in Africa, as they are less affected by parasitic plants. This is the result of research by Muhammad Jamil at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR. Jamil studied processes and technologies that could improve the control of the parasitic weed Striga both in the lab and in the field. He discovered that rice plants that produce less carotene than usual are less infected by the Striga parasite. Jamil believes that his findings could lead the way to cheaper and effective technologies for improving food production and farmer incomes, especially in Africa.

Parasitic plants in cereals such as maize, sorghum, highland rice and millet are increasing the pressure on food production in Africa. One of the main problems is Striga, a deceptively beautiful plant that takes all the water and nutrients it needs from its host. The parasitic plant mainly attacks cereals when the growing conditions are unfavourable, which is why particularly cereals in Africa are affected. The effects are disastrous as Striga can cause complete harvest failure.

Originally from Pakistan, Muhammad Jamil studied at Wageningen University the processes involved in the germination of Striga seeds and their initial 'attachment' to the host. Prior research had already shown that Striga seeds only germinate when specific plant hormones -- called strigolactones -- are present in the soil. Strigolactones are secreted into the soil from the roots of the host. This signals the Striga seeds that there is a host root nearby that can be infected, causing the seeds to germinate and the seedlings to attack the crop.

Jamil studied various approaches for reducing the damage caused by Striga, including the effect of substances that reduce the production of strigolactones, the genetic variation for the production of strigolactones, and the effect of fertilisers on strigolactone production. He studied the consequences on the germination of Striga seeds and the attachment of the seedlings to rice, sorghum and maize.

Plants produce strigolactones from carotene, the well-known colouring agent also present in carrots. Jamil treated rice with very low amounts of compounds that inhibit the production of carotene. By doing so he succeeded in reducing the strigolactone production of the plants. And the effect was considerable: The germination of Striga seeds was reduced by up to 75 percent.

The use of fertiliser also resulted in a substantial reduction in strigolactone production and, therefore, Striga infestation. In addition, Jamil's research showed that the strigolactone production of different rice varieties varies tremendously. Some varieties have a low strigolactone production and are therefore less affected by parasitic plants.

All in all Jamil sees good opportunities for developing cheaper, effective technologies to reduce the effect of the Striga parasite. This would allow African farmers to produce more food and achieve a better income


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Grain crops with lower carotene levels are less affected by parasitic plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095533.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2012, January 16). Grain crops with lower carotene levels are less affected by parasitic plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095533.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Grain crops with lower carotene levels are less affected by parasitic plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095533.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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