Thursday, December 26, 2019

Better anchor roots help crops grow in poor soils

A newly discovered plant metabolite that promotes anchor root growth may prove valuable in helping crops grow in nutrient-deficient soils.

​A metabolite in plants that regulates the growth of anchor roots—vital for sustaining water and nutrient uptake in plants—has been identified and may have useful applications in agriculture.

Pigment compounds called carotenoids are found in all plants and play a key role in successful photosynthesis and the generation of plant hormones and metabolites. These products are formed when enzyme activity causes carotenoid molecules to split—a process known as cleavage. While many carotenoid products are known to play key biological roles, less is known about one group of cleavage molecules called di-apocarotenoids.

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Image: A newly identified metabolite that stimulates anchor root growth in Arabidopsis plants may have potential applications in promoting plant growth in nutrient-deficient soils. The two plants treated with anchorene (right) show anchor root formation while untreated plants do not show anchor root formation.
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