New research could lead to flood-tolerant cereals

Scientists at the University of Nottingham claim to have developed a way of breeding cereals to be more tolerant of flooding.

Initially research undertaken by the English university in 2011 was published in the academic journal Nature which discovered the “molecular mechanism plants use to sense low oxygen levels”.

This initial discovery set a marker for the possibility of growing high-yielding cereals that are flood-tolerant .

Recently further research on flooding and cereals was published by the university which has discovered “the mechanism used by plants in stress conditions to sense low oxygen levels”.

Furthermore the university scientists “now know how to breed barley cultivars more tolerant to waterlogging and flooding,” Professor Holdsworth, Professor of Crop Science in the School of Biosciences, said.

With increasing worldwide flooding events and the damage such events can cause to crops this research is a positive for crop growing.

It is also a positive discovery for crop growers and consumers alike.

When plant roots become flooded respiration and photosynthesis struggle. Continued flooding eventually will lead to the plant dying.

In this case, barley is more likely to become waterlogged compared to other cereal crops.

With the number of worldwide flood events increasing, this research now opens up the possibility of growing barley that will be more tolerant to flooding.

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