|Professor Susan McCouch|
Plant breeder, Cornell University
working in the greenhouse on
aluminum tolerance in rice varieties
Photo: Cornell University
At Cornell University, Professor Susan McCouch and Leon Kochian of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health have been conducting aluminum tolerance experiments with different rice varieties. Preliminary results show that certain varieties such as the japonica are more tolerant than the more commonly grown indica varieties. Some varieties stop aluminum from entering the roots, while others take up the metal and detoxify it inside root cells. Work is ongoing to hybridize the most tolerant varieties into "new super-tolerant varieties."
This work is also relevant to other crops grown in soils with high levels of aluminum such as corn and wheat. Aluminum toxicity is a primary limitation to crop production on about 50 percent of the world's potentially arable land, including about 20 percent of land in North America.
|Areas in red have soil with high aluminum toxicity|
"Cornell researcher battling aluminum to expand global food production," Cornell University Press Release, 8 May 2012.