Protecting Wheat from Salty Soils

Press/Media: Press / Media

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Article in:

Making a Difference – Outcomes of ARC Supported Research 2019-2020

ISSN (Print) 2209-6000

ISSN (Online) 2209-7414
Published: August 2020
© Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Period14 Aug 2020

Media contributions

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Media contributions

  • TitleMaking a Difference – Outcomes of ARC Supported Research 2019-2020.
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletAustralian Research Council
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size90 pages
    Country/TerritoryAustralia
    Date14/08/20
    DescriptionPROTECTING WHEAT FROM SALTY SOILS

    Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant
    Energy Biology led by The University of Western Australia
    (UWA) have discovered two enzymes that explain the
    sensitivity of wheat plants to salty soils. The findings
    could lead to advances that strengthen crops against
    salinity, an issue costing WA farmers more than $500
    million a year.
    The research was led by an ARC Future Fellowship
    recipient, Dr Nicolas Taylor, from the UWA School of
    Molecular Sciences, with a team at the ARC Centre of
    Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and The National
    University of Malaysia.
    An improved understanding of the effects of salinity on
    crops at a molecular level is essential for developing
    more tolerant wheat varieties.

    The research described two enzymes in wheat that are
    especially sensitive to salt, and that appear to be the
    ‘weak link’ that leads to plant death in saline soils. The
    researchers also discovered wheat has a natural defence
    system that can bypass one of the sensitive enzymes,
    partially protecting against salt.
    Dr Taylor said that by understanding exactly how salt is
    damaging wheat plants, they can look for varieties with
    improved natural salt tolerance and introduce them into
    wheat breeding programs.

    SALINITY IS A GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL ISSUE,
    AND IN AUSTRALIA IT AFFECTS MORE THAN TWO
    MILLION HECTARES OF FARMLAND, HALF OF WHICH
    IS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA. FARMERS IN AFFECTED
    AREAS SEE CROP YIELDS REDUCED BY MORE THAN
    A QUARTER.
    Producer/AuthorAustralian Research Council
    URLhttps://online.flippingbook.com/view/889600/2/
    PersonsNic Taylor