Biotech Updates

Parent Plants Provide Antibodies to Offspring, Research Finds

November 7, 2012

In a study on a flowering plant pyrethum (a type of marguerite), researchers from the Plant Research International in Wageningen UR reveal that the mother plants give their sprouts two types of substances that protect them against outside threats. First, the mother plants give them pyrethrins to resist micro-organisms and foraging insects. The pyrethrins enter the embryo in the centre of the seed from the seed wall.

In addition, the mother plant produces glandular trichomes in the seed wall. These glandular trichomes contain very small droplets of so-called sesquiterpene lactones, substances which have been found to have the ability to inhibit the root growth of other plants. When the seed germinates, the sesquiterpene lactones enter the soil. The quantities involved are very small, but they are sufficient to inhibit the root growth of plants in the immediate vicinity.

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