. Energy News .




FARM NEWS
Benefits of Bt corn go beyond rootworm resistance
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 13, 2013


File image.

Engineered to produce the bacterial toxin, Bt, "Bt corn" resists attack by corn rootworm, a pest that feeds on roots and can cause annual losses of up to $1 billion. But besides merely protecting against these losses, the Bt trait has also boosted corn yields, in some cases beyond normal expectations. So what makes it so successful?

Fred Below and Jason Haegele of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set out to answer that question by determining how Bt corn uses nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for corn, and with better root systems, it's possible that Bt corn uses nitrogen differently than non-resistant strains, the scientists hypothesized, in turn affecting corn production. The study, published in Crop Science, showed just that - Bt corn had higher yields and used nitrogen more efficiently than non-resistant corn.

With its resistance to corn rootworm, Below explains, Bt corn has healthier and more active roots than corn without the resistance trait. And a better root system can lead to improved function for the plant as a whole.

"If you can protect the investment the plants made in the root system," explains Below, "you can realize everything that roots do like take up nutrients and water and provide anchorage."

The researchers conducted experiments over two years, growing resistant and non-resistant crops and applying five different amounts of nitrogen. The resistant corn had higher yields than the non-resistant crops (nearly 21 bushels per acre) and more easily tolerated low nitrogen levels.

More efficient use of nitrogen in the soil would be especially beneficial in areas where nitrogen is lost through heavy precipitation or erosion. Additionally, Bt corn would fare better at current levels of nitrogen use in the United States.

"In 2010, the average nitrogen application rate for corn production was around 140 lb/acre," say Haegele and Below. "Our study shows that the resistant strains we evaluated would have higher yields at that rate of nitrogen application."

The healthy roots and efficient nutrient use of Bt corn could lead to changes in management practices that would further increase production. Banded or placed fertility, a method by which a farmer can place fertilizer where the roots are likely to be, would be more effective when used on the robust root system. Additionally, increasing plant populations could further increase yield.

"When you have a higher population of plants, each individual plant has a smaller root system, so that made it difficult to increase plant population when you had insects chewing on the roots," explains Below. "With the Bt corn, though, you can protect the root system and grow more plants."

In addition to its utility in crop production, Below is hopeful that Bt corn will open up new avenues of research as scientists begin to better understand root systems. "Plant roots are below ground and are hard to study. It's a big, unexplored horizon, both in agronomics and crop biology. I think that's why the trait is of such value."

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary.

.


Related Links
American Society of Agronomy
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear

...





FARM NEWS
Preserving biodiversity can be compatible with intensive agriculture
University Park, PA (SPX) Feb 13, 2013
Preserving genetically diverse local crops in areas where small-scale farms are rapidly modernizing is possible, according to a Penn State geographer, who is part of an international research project investigating the biodiversity of maize, or corn, in hotspots of Bolivia, Peru and Mexico. Hotspots are areas where cultivation of peaches and other non-traditional crops has exploded over the ... read more


FARM NEWS
US launches Earth observation satellite

NightPod Images Bring Earth to Light From Space Station

Landsat Data Continuity Mission Awaits Liftoff

Ball Supplies Advanced Imaging Instrument For Landsat 8

FARM NEWS
System improves GPS in city locations

Boeing to modernize U.S. Air Force GPS net

Smart satnav drives around the blue highway blues

Lockheed Martin Completes Major GPS III Flight Software Milestone

FARM NEWS
Taiwan's 'King of the Trees' fights for the forests

Outside View: Restoring Lebanon's forests

Mixed forest provides beneficial effects

Paper giant APP promises no deforestation in Indonesia

FARM NEWS
Newly discovered plant structure may lead to improved biofuel processing

Hydrothermal liquefaction - the most promising path to a sustainable bio-oil production

Scientists turn toxic by-product into biofuel booster

Reaping Profits from Landfill Biogas

FARM NEWS
Locus Energy Launches Two New Major Platform Components

Promoting Reliability Standards for Solar Modules

Astrum Solar Teams with DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions

ET Solar AC Modules Installed in Residential Systems in the US

FARM NEWS
Gone with the wind: French scheme targets farting cows

Mainstream Renewable Power Starts Building Wind Farm in Chile

Hgcapital And Blue Energy Agree UK Wind Farm Investment Deal

Sabotage may have felled U.K. wind turbine

FARM NEWS
China mine blast kills 17: state media

FARM NEWS
Nepal police report 100th Tibet self-immolation bid

China needs 'full-scale' reform to fight inequality

China bans ads on gift-giving to officials: media

China province stops some labour camp terms: media




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement