Biotech Updates

Plant's Drought Stress Hormone Blocks Spider Mites

May 8, 2024

Scientists have discovered that a drought stress hormone of plants is used to block spider mites. Their findings may help with future crop breeding programs that seek to improve broad-scale pest management.

Pests greatly affect the yield of crops, which causes plants to use defense mechanisms against these pests. However, spider mite causes quick damage and is hard to address because of its broad target range.

Researchers from Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP) and Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) used a Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based ABA biosensor (ABACUS2) that identifies small changes in plant hormone concentrations. Their results showed that a hormone associated with drought response, known as abscisic acid (ABA), closed the entry gates of the Thale Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) plant within 5 hours of being attacked by spider mites. The closure of the entry gates, known as stomata, hinders the feeding of the spider mites and reduces the leaf cell damage. The optimum closure of stomata occurs within 24 to 30 hours.

For more information, read the article on Plant Physiology.

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