Crop Biotech Update

Wheat's 'Second Genome' Could Help in the Plant's Survival against Environmental Stress

March 3, 2021
Elizabeth Vargis is an associate professor of biological engineering in Utah State University and lead author of the study.

Scientists from Utah State University identified the effects of abiotic stressors found on the roots of wheat crops which could potentially strengthen the crop's defense against environmental stress.

The scientists used Raman Spectroscopy, partnered with a machine learning algorithm, to study the outer membrane vesicles (OMV) released by a bacterium found on the roots of dryland wheat. They referred the microbiome found in the plant as its 'second genome'. They have identified the type of stress necessary for the bacteria to release OMVs. The bacteria form a film around the roots of wheat when exposed to extreme heat which protects the crop from drought.

The scientists could strengthen more the response of these bacteria by adding micronutrients. The study also showed that stress is essential and can be used in the plant's survival against extreme heat conditions.

For more details, read the news release on the website of Utah State University and the article in Scientific Reports.

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