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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Research Project #444364

Research Project: Regulation, Biosynthesis, and Function of Plant Chemical Defenses and their Role in Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Location: Chemistry Research

Project Number: 6036-11210-002-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 26, 2023
End Date: Mar 25, 2028

1. Identify and characterize genes involved in the regulation, production, and function of plant chemical defenses. 1A. Characterize the biosynthesis and function of Herbivore Induced Plant Volatiles. 1B. Characterize the production and function of hormones jasmonic acid and abscisic acid in chemical defense regulation. 2. Elucidate the impact and interactions of climate change on plant chemical defense responses to biotic threats.

The overall goal of this project is to provide stakeholders with increased knowledge of the identity, function, biosynthesis, and regulation of chemical defenses of crops such as maize and tomato against insect and pathogen attack and determine how the effectiveness of these chemical defenses may be impacted by climate change. The approaches and procedures for this project are interlinked and mutually supportive, in that outputs from each portion feed into other areas and all support the overarching theme of understanding plant defense chemistry in crop plants. Plants produce a variety of species-specific phytochemicals that have anti-herbivore or anti-microbial activities, influence interactions with other organisms in the environment, or have biotic/abiotic stress-protection functions. Our research proposes to use model crops such as maize and tomato to enhance the understanding of the production, function, and regulation of plant defense chemicals. We will do this by integrating metabolic profiling and compound discovery, bioinformatics, genome mapping, forward genetic screening, targeted mutagenesis, and stress phenotyping.