Sub-theme 2a - Identifying novel biomarkers for pre-determinants of growth and yeild


Specific sub-theme contributors:

Dr Andrew Merchant and Associate Professor Penelope Smith


The C status of leaves reflects plant growth in time and space and is a prominent candidate for the development of tools to monitor plant processes under stress (e.g. Stitt et al., 2010; Sulpice et al., 2009). Seed development is sensitive to the supply of photo-assimilate that plays a significant role in legume pod abortion. Understanding the relationships between the flux of resources through the leaf and then long-distance transport to seeds is essential to develop biomarkers targeted at yield and quality. High-throughput technologies applied across diurnal time frames (Sulpice et al., 2009) will be used for targeted metabolic profiling of stored (starch) and phloem translocated, environmentally sensitive (Arndt et al., 2008; Merchant et al., 2009; Streeter et al., 2001; Wanek and Richter, 1997) carbon metabolites (polyols) (Streeter et al., 2001; Merchant et al., 2007; Monson et al., 2006). Targeting subsets of primary metabolism (e.g. core metabolic reactions of the cells) is a strategic approach to characterise alterations in plant metabolism in response to environmental change and to develop biomarkers for plant breeding programs (Streeter et al., 2001; Merchant & Richter 2011). Parallel approaches will also be developed to investigate resource allocation (N and C) to support developing nodules to increase efficiencies (see Theme 3a).

Development of the use of starch, carbohydrates and polyols as novel markers for growth, yield and yield quality.

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