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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #444886

Research Project: Combatting Heat Stress through Development of Heat Tolerant Soybeans

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 6070-21600-001-008-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2023
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

Maintaining crop production under climate change is critical for food security and the profitability of U.S. farmers. The objective of this project is to identify genetic sources of heat stress tolerance in soybean that breeders can use to develop cultivars that perform well in the stressful environments projected for the coming decades.

The project will screen soybean germplasm for heat stress tolerance, taking advantage of the unique outdoor facilities designed and constructed by USDA-ARS at Raleigh, NC, for the purpose of studying the heat stress response of crops. Diverse germplasm will be screened in a custom-built temperature gradient greenhouse that provides full season elevated temperature treatments of up to +4 degrees Celsius to provide an integrated assessment of temperature response across all developmental stages. This elevated temperature regime is in line with predicted future temperature increases of 2-4 degrees Celsius. Well-drained commercial potting mix will be used to minimize disease pressure and allow frequent irrigation so that heat stress can be assessed in the absence of other stress factors during this initial screening process. Rating for heat stress response will be based on seed yield and harvest index. Seed protein and oil concentrations will also be measured with near-infrared reflectometry to determine the effects of elevated temperature during the growing season on seed composition.