Biotech Updates

Specialized Transporters for Plants to Increase Food Production

May 15, 2013

Leading plant biologists from around the world report their recent discovery on the way plants transport important substances across their biological membranes. According to them, the transport process that allows plants to resist toxic metals and pests, increase salt and drought tolerance, control water loss, and store sugar may have implications for increasing food supply and energy to the rapidly growing global population. Transporters are specialized proteins that plants use to take up nutrients from the soil, help plants resist pathogens and make plants more tolerant to adverse conditions.

Professor Dale Sanders, director of the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich Research Park, is working on improving the accumulation of zinc in cereal grains. He said that more research on transporters will improve uptake from soil to plant, and redistribution within the seed, and emphasized that simply increasing fertilizer use and water supply will not be enough to satisfy the requirements of increased yield and environmental sustainability.

The team's research results was published in the journal Nature available at The JIC news release can be read at