dried-soil

A protein that helps plants grow in salty soils

Photo credit: Nature World News

Salt buildup in soil from salt-laden water percolating and evaporating, stresses surrounding plants trying to grow. (Photo : Flickr: William Warby)

Salinity and Climate: New Protein Helps Plants Grow

By Samantha Mathewson

Researchers have developed a protein that helps plants grow in salty soils. This could help in future growth of more salt-tolerant crops.

(Photo : Cell ) Plants with CC proteins (wild type) grow better in salty conditions. -  http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/18306/salt-stres.jpg?w=600
(Photo : Cell )
Plants with CC proteins (wild type) grow better in salty conditions. – http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/18306/salt-stres.jpg?w=600

“More and more of the world’s crops are facing salt stress with high salt in soils (also known as salinity) affecting 20 percent of the total, and 33 percent of irrigated, agricultural lands worldwide, ” Professor Staffan Persson, study leader from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and formerly at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, said in a news release. He noted that unlike humans, plants are stuck and can’t move away from the salty snacks or drink more water.

“By 2050 it is estimated that we need to increase our production of food by 70 percent to feed an additional 2.3 billion people. Salinity is a major limiting factor for this goal as more than 50 percent of the arable land may be salt afflicted by the year 2050,” Persson explained in the release. “It is therefore of great agricultural importance to find genes and mechanisms that can improve plant growth under such conditions. ”

The researchers found that a previously unknown family of proteins supports the cellulose-producing protein complex, called cellulose synthase, under salty conditions. This synthase, or enzyme that starts up a synthesis process, is important for plant cells’ shape and stability. This new family of proteins was named Companions of Cellulose synthase (CC). Their findings were recently published in the journalCell.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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