Crop Biotech Update

Experts Discover Plant Hormone that Speeds Growth

May 15, 2019

Scientists from the United States and Saudi Arabia have identified beta-cyclocitral, a plant hormone that makes tomato and rice plants roots grow faster and branch more. Beta-cyclocitral speeds root growth when added to soil. A commonly found hormone in plants, it also makes rice plants resistant to salty soil.

The researchers wanted to find plant hormones that affected root development. Their previous research hinted that some molecules related to carotenoids might be important. Using Arabidopsis, the team tested about 20 carotenoids that have been repurposed and are available as food additives and found that beta-cyclocitral stood out. According to coauthor Jazz Dickinson, it is possible that the compound helped the roots push down through the salty topsoil to reach the deeper, less-salty soil more quickly.

For more details, read the news article at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.