New Chemical Could Stem Crop Losses From Drought

Nov. 15, 2019
Researchers at The University of California- Riverside develop a chemical that helps plants hang onto water.

Farmers facing crop loss due to drought may soon find relief in the form of a new chemical that helps plants hold onto water. A team from the University of California, Riverside has developed an anti-water loss chemical that could help farmers better manage crop performance when water levels are low, according to an article from Phys.org.

Drought is the number one cause of annual crop failures worldwide, according to UC Riverside biology professor, Sean Cutler. Opabactin, also known as OP (gamer slang for overpowered), reportedly mimics – but is 10 times stronger than – ABA, the natural hormone plants produce in response to drought stress. The “super hormone” works fast, showing measurable improvement in the amount of water plants released within hours of being applied, according to the article. If drought is in the forecast, farmers could potentially apply OP to improve crop yields. Syngenta and the National Science Foundation provided initial funding for the project.

Read the entire article here.

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