Abstract: There is limited knowledge available on the thermal acclimation processes for bryophytes, especially when considering variation between populations or sites. This study investigated whether short-term ex situ thermal acclimation of different populations showed patterns of site dependency and whether the maximum quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm) could be used as an indicator of adaptation or temperature stress in two bryophyte species: Pleurozium schreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt. and Racomitrium lanuginosum (Hedw.) Brid. We sought to test the hypothesis that differences in the ability to acclimate to short-term temperature treatment would be revealed as differences in photosystem II maximum yield (Fv/Fm). Thermal treatments were applied to samples from 12 and 11 populations during 12 or 13 days in growth chambers and comprised: (1) 10/5 °C; (2) 20/10 °C; (3) 25/15 °C; (4) 30/20 °C (12 hours day/night temperature). In Pleurozium schreberi, there were no significant site-dependent differences before or after the experiment, while site dependencies were clearly shown in Racomitrium lanuginosum throughout the study. Fv/Fm in Pleurozium schreberi decreased at the highest and lowest temperature treatments, which can be interpreted as a stress response, but no similar trends were shown by Racomitrium lanuginosum.
Abstract: Outbreaks of clubroot disease caused by the soil-borne obligate parasite Plasmodiophora brassicae are common in oilseed rape (OSR) in Sweden. A DNA-based soil testing service that identifies fields where P. brassicae poses a significant risk of clubroot infection is now commercially available. It was applied here in field surveys to monitor the prevalence of P. brassicae DNA in field soils intended for winter OSR production and winter OSR field experiments. In 2013 in Scania, prior to planting, P. brassicae DNA was detected in 60% of 45 fields on 10 of 18 farms. In 2014, P. brassicae DNA was detected in 44% of 59 fields in 14 of 36 farms, in the main winter OSR producing region in southern Sweden. P. brassicae was present indicative of a risk for >10% yield loss with susceptible cultivars (>1300 DNA copies g soil−1) in 47% and 44% of fields in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Furthermore, P. brassicae DNA was indicative of sites at risk of complete crop failure if susceptible cultivars were grown (>50 000 copies g−1 soil) in 14% and 8% of fields in 2013 and 2014, respectively. A survey of all fields at Lanna research station in western Sweden showed that P. brassicae was spread throughout the farm, as only three of the fields (20%) showed infection levels below the detection limit for P.brassicae DNA, while the level was >50,000 DNA copies g−1 soil in 20% of the fields. Soil-borne spread is of critical importance and soil scraped off footwear showed levels of up to 682 million spores g−1 soil. Soil testing is an important tool for determining the presence of P. brassicae and providing an indication of potential yield loss, e.g., in advisory work on planning for a sustainable OSR crop rotation. This soil test is gaining acceptance as a tool that increases the likelihood of success in precision agriculture and in applied research conducted in commercial oilseed fields and at research stations. The present application highlights the importance of prevention of disease spread by cleaning of farm equipment, footwear, etc.
Abstract: Nitrogen-fixing shrubby legumes in the Mediterranean area partly overcome nutrient limitations by making use of soil N and atmospheric N2 sources. Their ability to switch between different sources lets them adjust to the carbon costs pertaining to N acquisition throughout the year. We investigated the utilization of different inorganic N sources by Cytisus balansae and Cytisus striatus, shrubby legumes under low and a sufficient (5 and 500 µM P, respectively) levels of P. Plants grew in sterile sand, supplied with N-free nutrient solution and inoculated with effective Bradyrhizobium strains; other treatments consisted of plants treated with (i) 500 µM NH4NO3; and (ii) 500 µM NH4NO3 and inoculation with effective rhizobial strains. The application of NH4NO3 always resulted in greater dry biomass production. Carbon construction costs were higher in plants that were supplied with mineral and symbiotic N sources and always greater in the endemic C. striatus. Photosynthetic rates were similar in plants treated with different sources of N although differences were observed between the two species. Non-fertilized inoculated plants showed a neat dependence on N2 fixation and had more effective root nodules. Results accounted for the distribution of the two species with regards to their ability to use different N sources.
Abstract: In forest ecosystems, a change of soil nitrogen (N) cycling after disturbance is regulated by various factors. Sasa dwarf bamboo (hereafter referred to as Sasa) is an understory plant that grows thickly on the forest floor in northern Hokkaido, Japan. However, the ecosystem function of Sasa after disturbances in the soil N cycling is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term response of Sasa to a change of soil N fertility. Biomass, litterfall, litter decomposition, soil N pool, and N leaching from soil were measured in control, and low- (5 g N m−2 year−1) and high-N (15 g N m−2 year−1) addition plots. Sasa immobilized much N as the soil N fertility increased. However, the leaf N concentration in aboveground biomass did not increase, suggesting that the N in leaves was maintained because of the increase of leaf biomass. As a result, the decomposition and mineralization rates of the produced litter before and after N addition were comparable among plots, even though the soil inorganic N fertility increased greatly. These results suggest that immediate response of Sasa to an increase of soil inorganic N mitigates the excess N leaching from soil.
Abstract: Abiotic stress results in massive loss of crop productivity throughout the world. Because of our limited knowledge of the plant defense mechanisms, it is very difficult to exploit the plant genetic resources for manipulation of traits that could benefit multiple stress tolerance in plants. To achieve this, we need a deeper understanding of the plant gene regulatory mechanisms involved in stress responses. Understanding the roles of different members of plant gene families involved in different stress responses, would be a step in this direction. Arabidopsis, which served as a model system for the plant research, is also the most suitable system for the functional characterization of plant gene families. Annexin family in Arabidopsis also is one gene family which has not been fully explored. Eight annexin genes have been reported in the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression studies of different Arabidopsis annexins revealed their differential regulation under various abiotic stress conditions. AnnAt8 (At5g12380), a member of this family has been shown to exhibit ~433 and ~175 fold increase in transcript levels under NaCl and dehydration stress respectively. To characterize Annexin8 (AnnAt8) further, we have generated transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants constitutively expressing AnnAt8, which were evaluated under different abiotic stress conditions. AnnAt8 overexpressing transgenic plants exhibited higher seed germination rates, better plant growth, and higher chlorophyll retention when compared to wild type plants under abiotic stress treatments. Under stress conditions transgenic plants showed comparatively higher levels of proline and lower levels of malondialdehyde compared to the wild-type plants. Real-Time PCR analyses revealed that the expression of several stress-regulated genes was altered in AnnAt8 over-expressing transgenic tobacco plants, and the enhanced tolerance exhibited by the transgenic plants can be correlated with altered expressions of these stress-regulated genes. Our findings suggest a role for AnnAt8 in enhancing abiotic stress tolerance at different stages of plant growth and development.
Abstract: At present, canola meal is primarily streamlined into the animal feed market where it is a competitive animal feed source owing to its high protein value. Beyond animal feed lies a potential game-changer with regards to the value of canola meal, and its opportunity as a high quality food protein source. An economic and sustainable source of protein with high bioavailability and digestibility is essential to human health and well-being. Population pressures, ecological considerations, and production efficiency underscore the importance of highly bioavailable plant proteins, both for the developed and developing world. Despite decades of research, several technologies being developed, and products being brought to large scale production, there are still no commercially available canola protein products. The workshop entitled “Canola/Rapeseed Protein—Future Opportunities and Directions” that was held on 8 July 2015 during the 14th International Rapeseed Congress (IRC 2015) addressed the current situation and issues surrounding canola meal protein from the technological, nutritional, regulatory and genomics/breeding perspective. Discussions with participants and experts in the field helped to identify economic barriers and research gaps that need to be addressed in both the short and long term for the benefit of canola industry.