Title: Ethylene acts as a key signal to sense soil compaction
Speaker: Dr. Bipin Pandey
BBSRC Discovery Fellow,
School of Biosciences,
University of Nottingham, UK
Ethylene, a gaseous hormone is continuously produced from the root tips of plants. Interestingly, being gaseous in nature ethylene is easily diffused away from root tips through large and well-connected soil pores. Therefore, low level of ethylene in soil is maintained in non-compacted soils, which helps the plant roots to keep growing in soil to acquire nutrients and water. However, when the soils are compacted, these large soil pores become very narrow and collapsed thus block the diffusion of ethylene from the root tips. Gradually, large amount of ethylene is trapped near root tips. Excessive accumulation of ethylene inhibits the root tip elongation and therefore foraging capacity of the plants is hampered in compacted soils. Eventually, poor root growth and thus poor nutrient and water uptake results in severe yield reduction. Surprisingly, we discovered that ethylene insensitive mutants of rice and Arabidopsis are blind to sense higher accumulation of ethylene in compacted soils thus remain able to penetrate the compacted soil.
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