A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Monday, March 02, 2009
Posted 6:53 PM by Tevita
Salt tolerant plants a step closer
From :Science Alert
Monday, 02 March 2009
University of Tasmania
Salinity costs the farming industry billions
Chief investigator Associate Professor Sergey Shabala said salination causes multi-billion dollar losses to the crop farming industry.
Up to seven per cent of the total land surface is saline and about one-third of the world’s irrigated land suffers from secondary-induced salination, he said.
Previously plant breeding for salt tolerance has achieved only a limited success, mainly due to the physiological and genetic complexity of salinity trait.
“Traditionally, plant breeding for salt tolerance followed two main avenues”, Assoc Prof Sergey Shabala said.
“One was to make sure that plants don’t take up sodium, and another one – to synthesise some chemicals to help them to withstand the water stress imposed by salinity. Unfortunately, neither of them was efficient enough”.
Now Assoc Prof Shabala and his team at the School of Agricultural Science believe they are getting close to solving this problem.
In a project funded by the Australian Research Council and Grain Research and Development Corporation, the scientists have explored some other mechanisms contributing to salinity tolerance in plants.
One mechanism, related to plant’s ability to keep a constant level of potassium within its tissues, seems to be crucial to make plants salt tolerant.
“It appears that we have found a ‘missing link’ in this puzzle”, Assoc Prof Shabala said.
“As far as plants are capable to keep potassium high, they are happy. And all other mechanisms discovered so far appear to be complimentary to this one”.
The National Land and Water Resources Audit estimates that somewhere between 10 and 25 per cent of currently arable land could be out of production by 2020. So creating salt tolerant varieties is critical for both reclaiming already salinised land and for minimising the overall cost of dryland salinity in Australia which may exceed $1 billion by 2100.
Assoc Prof Shabala and his team believe that targeting potassium in plant breeding for salt tolerance opens new and exciting prospects to overcome salinity problem and create tolerant varieties.
“Given the large amount of contributing components, it’s a painfully slow process,” he said.
“But the knowledge is in place, so it’s simply a matter of time and appropriate techniques to get it all working in the field.”
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