182 research outputs found

    Increased SBPase activity improves photosynthesis and grain yield in wheat grown in greenhouse conditions

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    To meet the growing demand for food, substantial improvements in yields are needed. This is particularly the case for wheat, where global yield has stagnated in recent years. Increasing photosynthesis has been identified as a primary target to achieve yield improvements. To increase leaf photosynthesis in wheat, the level of the Calvin-Benson cycle enzyme sedoheptulose-1,7-biphosphatase (SBPase) has been increased through transformation and expression of a Brachypodium dystachion SBPase gene construct. Transgenic lines with increased SBPase protein levels and activity were grown under greenhouse conditions and showed enhanced leaf photosynthesis and increased total biomass and dry seed yield. This showed the potential of improving yield potential by increasing leaf photosynthesis in a crop species such as wheat. The results are discussed with regards to future strategies for further improvement of photosynthesis in wheat.publishersversionPeer reviewe

    Biophysical suitability, economic pressure and land-cover change: a global probabilistic approach and insights for REDD+

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    There has been a concerted effort by the international scientific community to understand the multiple causes and patterns of land-cover change to support sustainable land management. Here, we examined biophysical suitability, and a novel integrated index of “Economic Pressure on Land” (EPL) to explain land cover in the year 2000, and estimated the likelihood of future land-cover change through 2050, including protected area effectiveness. Biophysical suitability and EPL explained almost half of the global pattern of land cover (R 2 = 0.45), increasing to almost two-thirds in areas where a long-term equilibrium is likely to have been reached (e.g. R 2 = 0.64 in Europe). We identify a high likelihood of future land-cover change in vast areas with relatively lower current and past deforestation (e.g. the Congo Basin). Further, we simulated emissions arising from a “business as usual” and two reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scenarios by incorporating data on biomass carbon. As our model incorporates all biome types, it highlights a crucial aspect of the ongoing REDD + debate: if restricted to forests, “cross-biome leakage” would severely reduce REDD + effectiveness for climate change mitigation. If forests were protected from deforestation yet without measures to tackle the drivers of land-cover change, REDD + would only reduce 30 % of total emissions from land-cover change. Fifty-five percent of emissions reductions from forests would be compensated by increased emissions in other biomes. These results suggest that, although REDD + remains a very promising mitigation tool, implementation of complementary measures to reduce land demand is necessary to prevent this leakage

    Re-framing the climate change debate in the livestock sector: mitigation and adaptation options

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    Livestock play a key role in the climate change debate. As with crop-based agriculture, the sector is both a net greenhouse gas emitter and vulnerable to climate change. At the same time, it is an essential food source for millions of people worldwide, with other functions apart from food security such as savings and insurance. By comparison with crop-based agriculture, the interactions of livestock and climate change have been much less studied. The debate around livestock is confusing due to the coexistence of multiple livestock farming systems with differing functions for humans, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission profiles and different characteristics and boundary issues in their measurement, which are often pooled together. Consequently, the diversity of livestock farming systems and their functions to human systems are poorly represented and the role of the livestock sector in the climate change debate has not been adequately addressed. In this article, building upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC 5AR) findings, we review recent literature on livestock and climate change so as better to include this diversity in the adaptation and mitigation debate around livestock systems. For comparative purposes we use the same categories of managerial, technical, behavioral and policy-related action to organize both mitigation and adaptation options. We conclude that different livestock systems provide different functions to different human systems and require different strategies, so they cannot readily be pooled together. We also observe that, for the different livestock systems, several win-win strategies exist that effectively tackle both mitigation and adaptation options as well as food security

    A Validated Genome Wide Association Study to Breed Cattle Adapted to an Environment Altered by Climate Change

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    Continued production of food in areas predicted to be most affected by climate change, such as dairy farming regions of Australia, will be a major challenge in coming decades. Along with rising temperatures and water shortages, scarcity of inputs such as high energy feeds is predicted. With the motivation of selecting cattle adapted to these changing environments, we conducted a genome wide association study to detect DNA markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms) associated with the sensitivity of milk production to environmental conditions. To do this we combined historical milk production and weather records with dense marker genotypes on dairy sires with many daughters milking across a wide range of production environments in Australia. Markers associated with sensitivity of milk production to feeding level and sensitivity of milk production to temperature humidity index on chromosome nine and twenty nine respectively were validated in two independent populations, one a different breed of cattle. As the extent of linkage disequilibrium across cattle breeds is limited, the underlying causative mutations have been mapped to a small genomic interval containing two promising candidate genes. The validated marker panels we have reported here will aid selection for high milk production under anticipated climate change scenarios, for example selection of sires whose daughters will be most productive at low levels of feeding

    Current warming will reduce yields unless maize breeding and seed systems adapt immediately

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    The development of crop varieties that are better suited to new climatic conditions is vital for future food production1, 2. Increases in mean temperature accelerate crop development, resulting in shorter crop durations and reduced time to accumulate biomass and yield3, 4. The process of breeding, delivery and adoption (BDA) of new maize varieties can take up to 30 years. Here, we assess for the first time the implications of warming during the BDA process by using five bias-corrected global climate models and four representative concentration pathways with realistic scenarios of maize BDA times in Africa. The results show that the projected difference in temperature between the start and end of the maize BDA cycle results in shorter crop durations that are outside current variability. Both adaptation and mitigation can reduce duration loss. In particular, climate projections have the potential to provide target elevated temperatures for breeding. Whilst options for reducing BDA time are highly context dependent, common threads include improved recording and sharing of data across regions for the whole BDA cycle, streamlining of regulation, and capacity building. Finally, we show that the results have implications for maize across the tropics, where similar shortening of duration is projected

    Global food security and food riots – an agent-based modelling approach

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    Due to negative consequences of climate change for agriculture and food production shocks affecting different areas of the world, the past two decades saw the conditions of global food security increasingly worsen. This has resulted in negative consequences for the world economy, partly causing international food price spikes and social upheavals. In this paper we present statistical findings along with a preliminary version of an original agent-based model called the Dawe Global Security Model that simulates the global food market and the political fragility of countries. The model simulates the effects of food insecurity on international food prices and how these, coupled with national political fragility and international food trade can, in turn, increase the probability of food riots in countries. The agents in the model are the 213 countries of the world whose characteristics reflect empirical data and the international trade of food is also simulated based on real trade partnerships and data. The model has been informed, calibrated and validated using real data and the results of these procedures are presented in the paper. To further test the model we also present the model’s forecasts for the near future in terms of food prices and incidence of food riots. The Dawe Global Security Model can be used to test scenarios on the evolution of shocks to global food production and analyse consequences for food riots. Further developments of the model can include national responses to food crises to investigate how countries can influence the spread of global food crises

    A comparision of GHG emissions from UK field crop production under selected arable systems with reference to disease control

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    Crop disease not only threatens global food security by reducing crop production at a time of growing demand, but also contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing efficiency of N fertiliser use and farm operations and by driving land use change. GHG emissions associated with adoption of reduced tillage, organic and integrated systems of field crop production across the UK and selected regions are compared with emissions from conventional arable farming to assess their potential for climate change mitigation. The reduced tillage system demonstrated a modest (<20%) reduction in emissions in all cases, although in practice it may not be suitable for all soils and it is likely to cause problems with control of diseases spread on crop debris. There were substantial increases in GHG emissions associated with the organic and integrated systems at national level, principally due to soil organic carbon losses from land use change. At a regional level the integrated system shows the potential to deliver significant emission reductions. These results indicate that the conventional crop production system, coupled to reduced tillage cultivation where appropriate, is generally the best for producing high yields to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global food security, although there may be scope for use of the integrated system on a regional basis. The control of crop disease will continue to have an essential role in both maintaining productivity and decreasing GHG emissions.Peer reviewe

    Genetic and Physiological Analysis of Iron Biofortification in Maize Kernels

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    BACKGROUND: Maize is a major cereal crop widely consumed in developing countries, which have a high prevalence of iron (Fe) deficiency anemia. The major cause of Fe deficiency in these countries is inadequate intake of bioavailable Fe, where poverty is a major factor. Therefore, biofortification of maize by increasing Fe concentration and or bioavailability has great potential to alleviate this deficiency. Maize is also a model system for genomic research and thus allows the opportunity for gene discovery. Here we describe an integrated genetic and physiological analysis of Fe nutrition in maize kernels, to identify loci that influence grain Fe concentration and bioavailability. METHODOLOGY: Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was used to dissect grain Fe concentration (FeGC) and Fe bioavailability (FeGB) from the Intermated B73 × Mo17 (IBM) recombinant inbred (RI) population. FeGC was determined by ion coupled argon plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP). FeGB was determined by an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell line bioassay. CONCLUSIONS: Three modest QTL for FeGC were detected, in spite of high heritability. This suggests that FeGC is controlled by many small QTL, which may make it a challenging trait to improve by marker assisted breeding. Ten QTL for FeGB were identified and explained 54% of the variance observed in samples from a single year/location. Three of the largest FeGB QTL were isolated in sister derived lines and their effect was observed in three subsequent seasons in New York. Single season evaluations were also made at six other sites around North America, suggesting the enhancement of FeGB was not specific to our farm site. FeGB was not correlated with FeGC or phytic acid, suggesting that novel regulators of Fe nutrition are responsible for the differences observed. Our results indicate that iron biofortification of maize grain is achievable using specialized phenotyping tools and conventional plant breeding techniques
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