Crop Biotech Update

Drought –Exposed Leaves Adversely Affect Soil Nutrients, Study Shows

April 15, 2011

Climate change especifically drought and high temperature could affect the chemical composition of drying leaves, said a new report published in the online version of the journal New Phytologist.

"When the leaves are particularly water-stressed by drought or drought with higher temperatures, we see more protective compounds, more tannins and a change in the chemistry of the tannins," said Jeff Dukes an associate professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University.

The increase in leaf tannin could cause leaves to decompose more slowly and also interfere with critical soil enzymes, affecting nutrient availability in plants. The chemical composition of the tannins is also different which make it interact more strongly with the soil enzymes. The report also provides additional insights on how climate change may impact food production.

For more on the news, see http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110405DukesTannins.html.