Scientists have found a way to help plants cope with drought (Google / Science World Report)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/7911/20130702/new-chemical-boosts-drought-tolerance-plants-combating-climate-change.htm

New Chemical Boosts Drought Tolerance in Plants: Combating Climate Change

Catherine Griffin

As our climate changes, plants face increasingly harsh conditions. Now, scientists have found a way to help plants cope with drought. They’ve discovered a synthetic chemical, quinabactin, that mimics a naturally produced stress hormone that improves water use and stress tolerance. Water was withheld from the Soybean plants shown here for 14 days during which the plants were treated with either a control (left) or quinabactin (right). The treated plants do not wilt as rapidly due to the action of the new compound.

As our climate changes, plants face increasingly harsh conditions. Now, scientists have found a way to help plants cope with drought. They’ve discovered a synthetic chemical, quinabactin, that mimics a naturally produced stress hormone that improves water use and stress tolerance.

When a drought occurs, plants naturally produce abscisic acid (ABA), which turns on certain receptors in plants. While spraying ABA on plants can help them survive drought, though, the process is expensive and impractical for farmers. Quinabactin, in contrast, is far cheaper and could potentially be used to help create hardier plants.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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