Biotech Updates

International Team Discovers Why Plants "Live Fast and Die Young"

December 5, 2018

An international team led by researchers at The University of Manchester has discovered why some plants "live fast and die young" whilst others have long and healthy lives. The study, published in Science Advances, helps in understanding how plant diversity is maintained, which could help improve nature conservation, natural habitat restoration, and growing healthier crops.

Through the use of new molecular techniques and existing knowledge of what different fungi do in soil, the researchers found that some plants harbored dozens of different harmful fungi in their roots, while others kept harmful microbes at bay and attracted many beneficial fungi that boost plant health. They also found that the balance between harmful and beneficial fungi depended on plant lifestyle, providing an insight into why some plants live fast but die young while others grow slowly but enjoy a long life.

Lead author Dr. Marina Semchenko from the University's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) said that some plants are slow to grow, but enjoy long life by cooperating with beneficial fungi, while others grow fast and are initially successful, but then they are brought down by diseases caused by harmful fungi.

For more details, read the news article from the University of Manchester.