Plant health, production, and products

Delicious and Disease-free: Scientists Attempting New Citrus Varieties

University of California Riverside (UCR) scientists are betting an ancient solution will solve citrus growers’ biggest problem by breeding new fruits with natural resistance to a deadly tree disease.

Team IDs Differences in Gene-Related Activity Between Ancient, Modern Corn

Roughly 9,000 years ago, Native American farmers in southern Mexico began domesticating teosinte, the wild ancestor of modern corn. Whereas the ancient teosinte plant produces hundreds of slender, thumb-length ears with no more than a dozen rock-hard kernels, a foot-long ear of modern maize can boast more than 500 chewable ones.

Researchers Work to Stop Ironwood Tree Decline in Guam

With U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants totaling almost $370,000, researchers from the University of Guam and other institutions are in the process of analyzing termites to assess their role in infecting what is now more than 20 percent of Guam’s ironwood trees with a deadly bacterium.

Researchers Make Breakthrough in Fighting Agricultural Plant Diseases

Texas A&M AgriLife researchers have made a discovery that will help combat fastidious pathogens, which cost U.S. agriculture billions of dollars annually.

Clemson Researcher Studies Organic Agriculture Soil Challenges

The organic industry is the fastest growing agricultural segment in the United States, but low soil organic carbon, meager soil fertility and poor soil structure are keeping South Carolina farmers from reaping the benefits of this market.

Study Finds Plant Defense Layer has Unexpected Effect on Volatile Compounds

A Purdue University biochemist and her colleagues have pioneered new methods for increasing production of volatile compounds important for plant defenses and for use in biofuels, pharmaceuticals and other products. While investigating how plants can more efficiently emit those compounds, Natalia Dudareva’s team also found an unanticipated factor playing a role in plant cellular functions—a plant’s cuticle.

Multi-state Coalition Aims to Advance Agriculture by Driving Research, Education, and Adoption of Nation’s First Perennial Grain Crop

A multi-state coalition of researchers, farmers, educators, industry leaders, policy experts, and climate scientists were recently awarded a competitive five-year, $10 million grant through USDA NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s - Sustainable Agricultural Systems program to scale the research, production, awareness and commercialization of Kernza, the first commercial perennial grain in the United States.

Plant Chemicals are a Trick or Treat for Insects

Plants contain a mixture of hundreds of unique chemicals that can attract or repel pests like caterpillars.

Flavonoids' Presence in Sorghum Roots May Lead to Frost-Resistant Crop

Flavonoid compounds, produced by the roots of some sorghum plants, positively affect soil microorganisms, according to Penn State University researchers.

Specialty Crop Farmers Can Increase Yields Through Improved Pollination

Most of the world’s crops depend on bees and other insects for pollination, so the decline in honey bees and wild bee populations raises concerns about food security. Crop yields for apples, cherries, and blueberries across the United States are being reduced.