International Team Discovers Signaling Molecule that Make Flood Resistant Plants
Frequentdroughts, fires, and floodings have been on the rise worldwide
as consequences of climate change. Floods cause major losses in
agriculture with 15 percent of global crop losses being due to flooding.
A collaboration between researchers from the University of Freiburg,
Utrecht University, Rothamsted Research, and the University of
California, Riverside have discovered a signaling molecule that can make
plants more resistant to flooding. The research team found that the
gaseous plant hormone ethylene causes the plant to switch on a kind of
molecular emergency power system that helps it survive the lack of
oxygen during flooding.
The team had previously demonstrated that ethylene sends a signal to the
plant that it is underwater. They found that pretreating the
experimental plants with ethylene improved their chances of survival.
The results, which appeared in the journal/Plant Physiology/, should
help to combat waterlogging and flooding in agriculture and, for
example, to develop resistant plant varieties.