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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving the Acid Soil Tolerance, Micronutrient Status, and Nutritional Quality of Staple Food Crops

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 1907-21000-036-02
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 15, 2009
End Date: Jun 14, 2014

The objectives of this cooperative research project are to increase our understanding of mechanisms of aluminum tolerance, heavy metal transport, and nutritional quality and health-promoting properties of plants.

1) A combination of joint-association mapping, comparative genomics, and biochemistry approaches will be used to study aluminum tolerance genes we recently cloned in wheat, sorghum and maize from the ALMT and MATE gene families. The research on sorghum and maize involves collaborative research with Embrapa Maize and Sorghum in Sete Lagoas, Brazil. The research on rice involves collaborative research with South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China, and Zhejiang University, Huangzhou, China. The information will be used to enhance acid soil tolerance of cereal crops, with a focus on sorghum, maize and rice. 2) The molecular physiology of heavy metal transport will be studied in the heavy metal hyperaccumulator, Thlaspi caerulescens. We have identified a number of genes that are candidates for involvement in metal hyperaccumulation in Thlaspi and will study them in more detail to determine if they are indeed, hyperaccumulation genes. These will be used via biotechnology to improve plants for use in remediation of metal-contaminated soils. 3) Recently identified QTL that enhance Fe bioavailability in maize seed will be characterized and a combined genomic, genetic and metabolic approach will be employed to identify the genes underlying the QTL as well as the secondary compounds underlying the FE bioavailability.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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