WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A study by Purdue University plant scientists and University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers advances our understanding of how plants control their shape and development at the cellular level.
Their findings could help researchers engineer better cotton fibers, improve plant defense against insects, alter plant architecture and toughen root response to drought.
"This collaboration enabled us to learn more about what really controls plant cell shape in one year than we had in the previous 10," said Daniel Szymanski, Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology and leader of the research team. "The degree to which our discoveries linked interacting systems and provided clear explanations for cell shape control was great. The opportunities to apply this knowledge are limitless."
The team used a combination of experimental data from live plant cells and computational modeling to gain new insights into how plant cytoskeletons - intricate networks of protein fibers and tubes within cells - cooperate to produce complex cell shapes.
Unlike mammalian cells, plant cells are rigid, constrained by a thick wall of fibers that have the tensile strength of steel. Plant cells can also come in complicated shapes, such as the pointed, three-branched Arabidopsis trichomes that served as cell models in Szymanski's study.
This is very appropriate to this blog because of the of the soil and plant nutrition we have talked about. Many farmers use lime and gypsum knowing that calcium is key to strong cell walls. Without strong cell walls, we can't build the factory required to grow high yielding, nutritious and profitable crops.
I can see the difference in a crop that is Sufficient in the nutrients tested on the tissue test because it will be greener, stronger and healthier looking than test results from crops that are lacking in essential nutrients. My calcium results has always been one of my stronger points because I learned this early on. Balancing calcium with the other 16 essential plant nutrients is key.
My soil was high in magnesium so I often saw Magnesium content high in relationship to calcium when I started a new field or farm. Lime and gypsum helps me quickly reverse that problem to the point I need to watch magnesium nutrition on my soils now.
As calcium increases throughout my soil profile and below it, I know I have more atmospheric air and more aerobic beneficial organisms that build healthy cells for a better factory. This year there is no extra money available for excess nutrients or soil building of fertility because of low crop prices, at least for me.
Is your plant factories operating at near capacity? Are your soils healthy enough to make that happen?