Jasmonate (JA) and the next Green Revolution

Context: The plant hormone called Jasmonate (JA), which is often associated with the plant’s defence against biotic factors like insects, pests and other pathogens, may help rice plants have greater tolerance to potassium deficiency, in turn, improving rice productivity, a new study has suggested.

Analysis

  • Jasmonate (JA) has been found to activate potassium transporters for its uptake from the media.

Uses of Potassium

  • Potassium is one of the most important macronutrients which helps plants in respiration and photosynthesis and in key cellular processes such as energy production, and cell expansion.
  • However, despite being among the most abundant minerals in the soil, its availability to plants is limited.
  • This is because most of the soil potassium (about 98 per cent) is in bound forms and its release into the soil solution is far slower than the rate of its acquisition by the roots.
  • Deficiency in potassium affects plants by inhibiting the growth of the roots and the shoots.
  • Studies have shown that plants that are deficient in potassium are more susceptible to salt, drought, chilling and other abiotic and biotic stresses.
  • The Green Revolution of the 1960s was driven by another plant hormone called Gibberellins (GA).
  • Gibberellins (GA) represent a key class of hormone signals that promote plant growth and development.
  • A key part of the Green Revolution, which saw crop yields more than double, was the development of new dwarf varieties, many of which were later found to have mutations in the GA pathway. 
  • The new study suggests that future research could be targeted towards JA that could help achieve both, nutrient- efficient crops and protection against pests.

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