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Crop Biotech Update

Breeding Ozone Tolerant Plants

August 26, 2011

Future levels of ground level ozone could reduce soybean yields by at least 23 percent, hence the need to breed ozone-tolerant crops. To address this concern, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are screening soybean varieties for ozone tolerance and sensitivity in SoyFACE (Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment) experiments.

SoyFACE involves testing plants in open-air field conditions under atmospheric conditions predicted for the year 2050. At that time, ozone concentrations are expected to be 50 percent higher than current concentrations. Ozone levels continue to increase through the years causing concern on their effect on crop yield.

Additional information is available at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2011/110822.htm