Location: Application Technology Research
Project Number: 5082-21000-001-082-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 30, 2023
End Date: Sep 29, 2028
Our research efforts will utilize new technologies to reduce labor costs (pruning, height control), decrease inputs (fertilizer, space, labor) and increase postharvest life (carbohydrate status, ethylene response) to increase crop quality, longevity and ‘sell through’ at mass marketing outlets. We will utilize three strategies to achieve this: 1) conducting translational research utilizing new molecular genetics approaches to maximize crop quality, resilience, and postharvest life; 2) optimizing synergistic responses among plant growth regulators to reduce labor costs; and 3) inoculate growing media with novel microorganisms to increase stress tolerance and crop resilience.
1) Translational research utilizing new molecular genetics approaches to maximize crop quality, resilience, and postharvest life. New molecular genetics and mutagenesis technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9, EMS, and protoplast culture will be employed to produce non-transgenic plants with a focus on inducing continuous flowering, ethylene insensitivity, more efficient nitrogen uptake, disease resistance, increasing drought resistance, novel foliage color, and/or heat tolerance in photosynthesis and flowering. These techniques will be employed to impact a desired trait and subsequent plant material raised through tissue culture will be assessed for expression of the desired trait. 2) Optimizing synergistic responses among plant growth regulators to reduce labor costs. The second area of focus will utilize existing plant growth regulators in combination to elicit new, novel responses that are/were not seen when these compounds are applied individually. We will focus on treatments that reduce labor costs associated with pruning plants during plant production as well as in the landscape. We will focus on growth regulators that impact the following growth hormones: ethylene, cytokinins, gibberellins, and abscisic acid. 3) Inoculate media with specific bacteria/fungi that can potentially increase rooting, and/or heat or drought tolerance. We have identified both new and commercially available fungi/bacteria that will be assessed for their ability to increase heat tolerance in containerized systems. Impacts of different microorganisms and degrees of inoculation will be assessed for a) impacts on root death at high temperatures, and b) enhanced ability to harvest macro and micronutrients from media.Organisms that will be evaluated include organisms indigenous to the geysers outlets and others which are commercially available but have not been assessed.