Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving lipid analysis: With new mass spectrometer, researchers can grow knowledge of plants and environmental stress

Date:
October 23, 2012
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
New research analyzing lipids is helping scientists around the world understand plant responses and develop better crops that can withstand environmental stress.

A Kansas State University professor's research analyzing lipids is helping scientists around the world understand plant responses and develop better crops that can withstand environmental stress.

To support her collaborative work, Ruth Welti, university distinguished professor of biology, recently received a grant of more than $440,000 from the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation program. The grant -- with matching funds from the university -- will be used to purchase the most advanced mass spectrometer for the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center, which Welti directs.

The new instrument will help Welti and other researchers study plant responses to heat and cold stress, plant infection by pathogens, and the development of plants and seeds, including seed oil production.

"We are trying to understand the basis for the way plants respond to stresses so the information can be used to improve crop plants," Welti said. "We want to obtain global information on plant responses and see how it relates to plant genotype."

Co-principal investigators on the grant include Kathrin Schrick, assistant professor of biology, and Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry. The instrument coordinator will be Mary Roth, analytical laboratory manager for the center.

The new spectrometer will enable the researchers to better identify and quantify lipids, which are nonwater-soluble compounds that are found in all living cells and form cell membranes, store energy and serve as messengers. For one of the spectrometer's major projects, the scientists are studying Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant species that is a good model for a number of crop species, particularly closely related species such as canola.

"The information we gather in Arabidopsis can be translated into crop plants," Welti said. "We want to be able to improve plants so they can withstand environmental stresses better. That way, when we have a summer like this last one with a lot of extra heat, crops will be better able to withstand it."

To understand the genetic basis of plant stress, the researchers are studying a broad range of plant stresses, including heat, cold, freezing, salinity, bacterial pathogen infection and fungal pathogen infection. The scientists are also looking at how plants respond to mechanical wounding, such as insect biting or animal grazing.

"We are looking at how these stresses affect plants' ability to continue growing and living," Welti said. "We are assessing how long they can endure stress and assessing their response to stress in relation to their genetic makeup. Genetic changes can affect lipid composition, and we think the lipid changes are signals within and between plants as they respond to stress."

To assess the changes in lipids, the researchers are measuring lipid compounds. They are also comparing wild-type plants with plants that have altered genes to see how each responds.

"The advantage of doing this in a model plant species is that is it easy to understand genetic changes, which is really important," Welti said.

The collaborative project involves several other researchers, including Jyoti Shah at the University of North Texas; Xuemin Wang at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and Charmaine Naidoo at Langston University.

The project involves analyzing more than 500 compounds in more than 17,000 plant samples. The new spectrometer will enable the researchers to collect and analyze the data nearly 20 times faster.

"What is taking us 36 months now will take us two months on this new instrument," Welti said.

The new spectrometer can benefit other research organizations with projects aimed at increasing agricultural production and understanding animal and human physiology. Because the center also performs mass spectrometry-based lipid analysis for scientists from all over the world, the spectrometer will also be available to the state, national and international scientific communities for other biochemical research projects.

The center, which was founded in 2003, is renovating space for the new spectrometer, which is expected to help with ongoing research from 15 laboratories in eight U.S. states and three countries. The new spectrometer is also expected to advance the training of numerous postdoctoral trainees, graduate students and undergraduates.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Improving lipid analysis: With new mass spectrometer, researchers can grow knowledge of plants and environmental stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023112303.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2012, October 23). Improving lipid analysis: With new mass spectrometer, researchers can grow knowledge of plants and environmental stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023112303.htm
Kansas State University. "Improving lipid analysis: With new mass spectrometer, researchers can grow knowledge of plants and environmental stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023112303.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. 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