Paper of the Month: Improved plant performance under saline field conditions 

Min and LanaSoil salinity is claiming about three hectares of arable land from conventional crop farming every minute

All domesticated cereals are highly sensitive to salt stress. 

As a result, global food security is jeopardised, and the penalties to agricultural sector exceed $30Bln pa. 

Recently a team of Australian scientists form Univ. Adelaide have discovered a region on chromosome in the ancestral wheat species einkorn that, when transferred into the modern wheat varieties, improved plant performance under saline field conditions. The reasons behind this improvement remained unclear.

In this work, Min Zhu and her colleagues have discovered that the above improvement in salinity tolerance may be explain by genetic and physiological control over a single protein named SOS1 that is located in the root inner tissues and operates as a pump, loading salt into the plant vascular system, to be delivered to the shoot. 

Understanding the mean of controlling SOS1 activity will be instrumental in improving salinity stress tolerance not only in wheat but also other major cereal crops such as rice, maize, or barley.

Citation: Zhu, Min, et al. "Nax loci affect SOS1-like Na+/H+ exchanger expression and activity in wheat." Journal of Experimental Botany (2015): erv493.

View the full paper (PDF)

Published on: 11 Apr 2016 9:00am