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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATING FORAGE SYSTEMS FOR FOOD AND ENERGY PRODUCTION IN THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Unit

Title: Maize root characteristis that enhance flooding tolerance

Authors
item Kindiger, Bryan
item Yoshiro, Mano - JAPANESE NAT. GRASSLAND

Submitted to: Plant Biology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 20, 2009
Publication Date: December 21, 2009
Citation: Kindiger, B.K., Yoshiro, M. 2009. Maize root characteristis that enhance flooding tolerance. Plant Biology Annual Meeting.

Interpretive Summary: Plant root systems may possess cellular and molecular adaptations that are important in reducing plant stress induced by flooding. Aerenchyma cells or air spaces inside the roots of some species allow for the maintenance of root oxygenation during temporary periods of water saturation or long periods of flooding. Another root characteristic that allows some tolerance to flooding conditions is the development of adventitious or lateral root growth above the water saturation level. This root growth characteristic also allows the maintenance of oxygenation during flooding conditions; and, provides a platform for reducing water induced root lodging in species such as maize or sorghum. Corn rarely expresses either of these characteristics during periods of flooding. Recent research has identified several genes in a close relative of corn (teosinte) that could be transferred to corn and result in aerenchyma and lateral root development. A successful marker-assisted-gene transfer program is being utilized to transfer these genes to maize inbred lines. A brief description of the research and results of the investigation are provided.

Technical Abstract: Plant root systems have several cellular and molecular adaptations that are important in reducing stress caused by flooding. Of these, two physical properties of root systems provide an initial barrier toward the avoidance of stress. These are the presence of aerenchyma cells and rapid adventitious root growth following flooding. As a first line of defense, these attributes are critical in reducing or avoiding the deleterious effects of flooding. Recent investigations have identified QTL effecting aerenchyma cell formation and adventitious root formation in teosinte, a close relative of maize, and its hybrids with maize. A brief description of the research and results of the investigation are provided.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014