Click here to see the list of previous research papers.
Genome editing as a tool to achieve the crop ideotype and de novo domestication of wild relatives: Case study in tomato
Are plant growth retardants a strategy to decrease lodging and increase yield of sunflower?
One of the major disadvantages of sunflower cultivation is the increased plant height, making it prone to the lodging. The use of plant growth retardants can be an alternative strategy to reduce plant height; however, these compounds may affect productivity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of plant growth retardants on sunflower development and yield. Four treatments were studied: 1- control; 2- gibberellic acid (GA) 10 mg L−1; 3- trinexapac-ethyl (TE) 5 mL L−1, and 4- maleic hidrazide (MH) 8 mL L−1. TE and MH decreased plant height (16.9 and 35.9%, respectively); however, only TE positively influenced capitulim diameter and dry mass (46.7 and 311%, when compared to control) at 60 days after planting (DAP). At 81 DAP, dry mass of capitulum did not differ among control and TE-treated plants. On the other hand, MH impaired diameter and dry mass of capitulum (92.9 and 74.7%, respectively). It can be concluded that the application of TE is a potential strategy to decrease lodging probability without affecting sunflower yield. Furthermore, although MH negatively affected sunflower development, its use on the crop cannot be excluded since other doses, frequencies and moment of application can be studied.
RNA interference as a gene silencing tool to control "Tuta absoluta" in tomato ("Solanum lycopersicum")
Does anatoxin-a influence the physiology of 'Microcystis aeruginosa' and 'Acutodesmus acuminatus' under different light and nitrogen conditions?
Due to changing global climatic conditions, a lot of attention has been given to cyanobacteria and their bioactive secondary metabolites. These conditions are expected to increase the frequency of cyanobacterial blooms, and consequently, the concentrations of cyanotoxins in aquatic ecosystems. Unfortunately, there are very few studies that address the effects of cyanotoxins on the physiology of phytoplankton species under different environmental conditions. In the present study, we investigated the effect of the cyanotoxin anatoxin-a (ATX-A) on Microcystis aeruginosa (cyanobacteria) and Acutodesmus acuminatus (chlorophyta) under varying light and nitrogen conditions. Low light (LL) and nitrogen limitation (LN) resulted in significant cell density reduction of the two species, while the effect of ATX-A on M. aeruginosa was not significant. However, under normal (NN) and high nitrogen (HN) concentrations, exposure to ATX-A resulted in significantly (p < 0.05) lower cell density of A. acuminatus. Pigment content of M. aeruginosa significantly (p < 0.05) declined in the presence of ATX-A, regardless of the light condition. Under each light condition, exposure to ATX-A caused a reduction in total microcystin (MC) content of M. aeruginosa. The detected MC levels varied as a function of nitrogen and ATX-A concentrations. The production of reactive oxygen species (H2O2) and antioxidant enzyme activities of both species were significantly altered by ATX-A under different light and nitrogen conditions. Our results revealed that under different light and nitrogen conditions, the response of M. aeruginosa and A. acuminatus to ATX-A was variable, which demonstrated the need for different endpoints of environmental factors during ecotoxicological investigations.
Root growth restraint can be an acclimatory response to low pH and is associated with reduced cell mortality: a possible role of class III peroxidases and NADPH oxidases
Low pH (<5.0) can significantly decrease root growth but whether this is a direct effect of H+ or an active plant response is examined here. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv Micro-Tom) roots were exposed directly or gradually to low pH through step-wise changes in pH over periods ranging from 4 to 24 h. Roots exposed gradually to pH 4.5 grew even less than those exposed directly, indicating a plant-coordinated response. Direct exposure to pH 4.0 suppressed root growth and caused high cell mortality, in contrast to roots exposed gradually, in which growth remained inhibited but cell viability was maintained. Total class III peroxidase activity increased significantly in all low pH treatments, but was not correlated with the observed differential responses. Use of the enzyme inhibitors salicylhydroxamic acid (SHAM) or diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI) suggest that peroxidase and, to a lesser extent, NADPH oxidase were required to prevent or reduce injury in all low pH treatments. However, a role for other enzymes, such as the alternative oxidase is also possible. The results with SHAM, but not DPI, were confirmed in tobacco BY-2 cells. Our results indicate that root growth inhibition from low pH can be part of an active plant response, and suggest that peroxidases may have a critical early role in reducing loss of cell viability and in the observed root growth constraint.