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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biomonitoring of Nutritional and Environmental Stress in Plants

Location: Application Technology Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative project is:.
1)to determine the differences in the expression of genes and proteins in plants grown in a greenhouse environment (no UV-B) compared to those in 'field conditions' (normal ambient UV-B concentrations), and.
2)to identify the protein and genetic changes during hidden hunger, and using this information, deveolop a technique that growers can use to test their plants for specific and/or general nutrient deficiencies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Microarray techniques will be used to rapidly screen for global differences in gene expression between the two different UV-B environments and nutrient (i.e., N,P,K,Fe,B, and Mg) stress. The initial use of an existing model plant system (i.e., Arabidopsis thaliana) for this work will facilitate identification of specific genes that are responsive to the absence of UV-B during growth. After identifying such UV-B and nutrient stress responsive genes in Arabidopsis, we can then identify related genes in bedding plant species (i.e., impatiens, petunia, begonia, geranium, marigold, pansy, chrysanthemum, and New Guinea impatiens). Simultaneously, proteomics techniques (i.e., identification of proteins of interest by 2-D gel analysis, followed by protein sequencing) will be used to screen for global differences in protein expression between the two different UV-B environments.


3.Progress Report:

Silicon (Si) is a beneficial element for plants that permits stress to be more effectively alleviated. For many plants, the more effectively Si is taken up, the more effective the stress alleviation. Our work studies both the molecules that transport Si into and through the plant and the way in which these transport molecules are regulated. As we begin to understand how Si transport is regulated, we could apply regulator molecules to activate the transporter proteins, allowing plants to acquire more of the element and helping plants to better deal with stress. This work is applicable to both field agriculture and floriculture.

This project relates to objective 1B of the parent project: Develop new, inexpensive, non-destructive methods to monitor plant growth and stress. Provide rapid, onsite capabilities to test nutrient status of plants, nutrient solutions, and run-off to supplement pH and electrical conductivity information. Apply existing sensor technologies in novel ways to monitor biotic and abiotic plant stress.


Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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