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Rubber ash for zinc, genomic selection and wheat fungi

By Nicola Cottam

- Last updated on GMT

Tyre rubber is a viable source of zinc that proves effective as a fertilizer for maize, say researchers
Tyre rubber is a viable source of zinc that proves effective as a fertilizer for maize, say researchers

Related tags Wheat

Rubber ash holds zinc promise, genomic selection can predict performance and wheat faces disease risk.

Rubber ash increases maize yields

Zinc (Zn) fertilization with rubber ash can increase maize yields by as much as 62% and reduce grain cadmium concentrations by 57%, say researchers.

A number of Zn treatments were applied to five maize cultivars (Pop 2004B, Pop 2006, Azam, Sarhad (W), Pahari ).  All were highly effective at increasing yields and Zn concentrations as well as lowering Cd, but rubber ash recorded the highest grain yield.

Tyre rubber is considered a viable source of Zn, which may be applied as a harmless and effective fertilizer with minimal risk of Cd contamination, the researchers wrote.

Untreated rubber is also a potential source of sulphur and calcium in deficient soils, they added.

The researchers also noted that rubber ash was more effective than commercial fertilizer at enhancing diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) extractable Zn in calcareous soil with Zn deficiency.

Source: Clean: soil, air, water
DOI: 10.1002/clen.201400376
‘Grain Cadmium and Zinc Concentrations in Maize Influenced by Genotypic Variations and Zinc Fertilization’​ 
Authors: Shah Fahad, Saddam Hussain, Shah Saud, Shah Hassan, Darakhshan, Yutiao Chen, Nanyan Deng, Fahad Khan, Chao Wu, Wei Wu, Farooq Shah, Bashir Ullah, Muhammad Yousaf, Saqib Ali, Jianliang Huang

Efficacy of genomic selection

Genomic selection has huge implications for accurately predicting hybrid performance in crops, research suggests.

However, the researchers said there was limited research on implementing the technique and further studies were urgently required to draw valid conclusions on the long-term efficacy and ‘economics’​ of genomic selection.

They suggested collecting phenotypic data across several years was the most credible technique to compare and analyze results from training and test populations, although using data from too many selection cycles can create discrepancies.

Studies reveal that the accuracy of genomic selection is reduced with ongoing breeding.

Source: Plant Breeding
First published: 28 November 2014 DOI: 10.1111/pbr.12231​ 
‘Genomic selection in hybrid breeding’ 
Authors: Yusheng Zhao, Michael F. Mette, Jochen C. Reif

Pathogen-induced suicide

Wheat yields are constantly under threat from plant diseases, often caused by pathogenic fungi, of which septoria tritici blotch (STB) is one of the most prevalent and economically costly.

STB is caused by the fungal species Zymoseptoria tritici​ (also known as Septoria tritici​ or Mycosphaerella graminicola​) and induces premature death of wheat leaves. This reduces the plants’ ability to capture sunlight and lowers grain production.

A recent study used a combination of advanced technologies, including RNA sequencing, to measure gene activity to identify the mechanisms adapted by the fungus to induce the disease.

Results reveal that initial infection with Z.tritici ​tricks the wheat into a premature form of defense, leading to cellular suicide.

Source: Plant Physiology
‘Molecular dynamics of pathogen reproduction on plants’ 
Authors: Jason Rudd, Kostya Kanyuka, Deywan Hassani-Pak, Mark Derbyshire, Ambrose Andongabo, Jean Devonshire, Artem Iysenko, Mansoor Saqi, Nalini Desai, Stephen Powers, Juliet Hooper, Linda Ambroso, Arvind Bharti, Andrew Farmer, Kim Hammond-Kosack, Robert Dietrich, Mikael Courbot

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