Drought Resistance Hormone Discovered in Plants

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Drought affects two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa and over 65% of its population (© Pexels)

Researchers at the RIKEN Centre of Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have discovered a hormone linked to the stimulation of drought-resistant characteristics in plants.

Published in the journal Nature earlier this month, the study shows how the peptide CLE25 is synthesised in the roots of plants when under stress due to a lack of water in the soil, resulting in the closing of pores (stomata) in the leaf surfaces.

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The perfect storm – how drought is hitting crops hard

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Maize is particularly vulnerable to drought (Photo:  Oxfam International)

Last year, one of the strongest El Niño events ever recorded caused significant changes to weather patterns around the world. Southern and Eastern Africa were hit particularly hard and suffered some of the worst drought conditions for decades, with as little as a quarter of the expected rainfall in the last few months of the year1. Drought is still having devastating impacts on crop yields in Africa, and humanitarian crises have been declared in the worst hit countries.

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Update: Plant Health News (04 May 16)

Severe whitefly damage to melon © David Riley, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Severe whitefly damage to melon © David Riley, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including whiteflies affecting melon in Honduras, a new irrigation project in Shire Valley, Malawi and rain and Citrus Greening affecting lime in Mexico.

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Update: Plant Health News (20 Apr 16)

Soil test kits help to identify what the soil actually needs, so helps the farmer to avoid excess fertiliser use © Chiot's Run (CC BY-NC)
Soil test kits help farmers to identify exactly what the soil needs © Chiot’s Run (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the government in Nigeria introducing soil test kits to farmers, drought hitting bananas in Nicaragua and community managed irrigation schemes in Ethiopia to help ensure food security.

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Update: Plant Health News (20 Jan 16)

Scientists are studying a number of wild banana varieties to help in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International
Wild bananas could be key in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the wild bananas that could help overcome TR4 Panama disease, the effect of El Niño on potato crops in Peru and the farmers in Tanzania who are being urged to grown drought resistant crops.

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Update: Plant Health News (11 Feb 15)

Maize plants infested by Striga © IITA (CC BY-NC)
Maize plants infested by Striga © IITA (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including Striga resistant maize yielding well in Kenya, scientists in the UK  finding a potential way to control leaf blotch disease in wheat and a grant under the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) to help small scale rice producers by creating better linkages in the rice value chain.

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Update: Plant Health News (15 Jan 15)

Maize is a staple crop in Malawi but farmers have been told to diversify © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)
Maize is a staple crop in Malawi but farmers have been advised to diversify © CIMMYT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including Crops in Brazil still suffering after last year’s drought, the Malawi farmers advised to diversify their crops and the gene that affects nitrogen fixation and yield of soybean.

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