To date, managing salinity stress in agriculture relies heavily on development of salt tolerant plant varieties, a time-consuming process particularly challenging for many crops. Plant based biostimulants (PB) that enhance plant defenses under stress can potentially address this drawback, as they are not crop specific and are easy to apply in the field.

"Unfortunately, limited knowledge about their modes of action makes it harder to utilize them on a broader scale. Understanding how PBs enhance plant defenses at cellular and molecular levels, is a prerequisite for the development of sustainable management practices utilizing biostimulants to improve crop health," claims Tariqul Islam, Graduate Student of Penn State University. His team carried out a study in which they elucidated the protective mechanism of Copper Chlorophyllin (Cu-chl), a PB, under salinity stress.

"Our results indicate that Cu-chl exerts protective effects primarily by decreasing oxidative stress through modulating cellular H2O2 levels. Cu-chl treated plants increased tolerance to oxidative stress imposed by a herbicide (paraquat) as well, suggesting a protective role against various sources of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). RNA-Seq analysis of Cu-chl treated Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings subjected to salt stress identified genes involved in ROS detoxification, as well as cellular growth. Thus, our data suggests Cu-chl as a perfect candidate to reduce salinity and the other abiotic stresses, along with improving plant growth and development."

The seminar will take place on February 1, 2021, 3:35 PM - 4:30 PM via Zoom.

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