Abiotic Stress/Whole Plant Bio

Abstract

CS-9-1 - Phenomics of stomata and water use efficiency in C4 species

Sunday, July 15
3:18 PM - 3:38 PM

Water use efficiency (WUE), which is physiologically distinct from drought tolerance, is a key target for improving crop productivity, resilience and sustainability.  This is because water availability is the primary limitation to crop yield globally and irrigation uses the largest fraction of our limited freshwater supply. The exchange of water and CO2 between a leaf and the atmosphere is regulated by the aperture and pattern of stomata. Mechanistic modeling indicates that stomatal conductance could be reduced or stomatal movements accelerated to improve water use efficiency in important C4 crops such maize and sorghum. While molecular genetics has revealed much about the genes regulating stomatal patterning and kinetics in Arabidopsis, knowledge of the genetic and physiological control of WUE by stomatal traits in C4 crops is still poor. Understanding of natural diversity in stomatal traits is limited by the lack of high-throughput phenotyping methods. Two novel phenotyping platforms were developed. First, a rapid method to assess stomatal patterning in three model C4 species grown in the field – maize, sorghum and setaria has been implemented. The leaf surface is scanned in less than two minutes with an optical tomographer, generating a quantitative measurement of a patch of the leaf surface. An algorithm was designed to automatically detect stomata in 10,000s of these images via training of a neural network approach. Second, a thermal imaging strategy, to rapidly screen the kinetics of stomatal closure in response to light has been developed. We identified genotype to phenotype associations for stomatal patterning, leaf gas exchange and canopy water use through QTL and GWAS.  Transgenically modified expression of stomatal patterning genes has produced sorghum with greater WUE. These plants are now growing in a new field facility for comprehensive evaluation of leaf, root and canopy WUE traits under Midwest growing conditions.


 

Co-Authors

John Ferguson – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Nathan Miller – University of Wisconsin; Jiayang Xie – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Charles Pignon – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Gorka Erice – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Timothy Wertin – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Nicole Choquette – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Max Feldman – Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Funda Ogut – University of Florida; Parthiban Prakash – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Peter Schmuker – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Anna Dmitrievna – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dylan Allen – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Elizabeth Ainsworth – USDA-ARS; Ivan Baxter – USDA-ARS; Thomas Brutnell – DDPSC; Edward Buckler – USDA-ARS/Cornell; Patrick Brown – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Thomas Clemente – University of Nebraska; Stephen Long – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Lauren McIntyre – University of Florida; Edgar Spalding – University of Wisconsin

Andrew Leakey

Associate Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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CS-9-1 - Phenomics of stomata and water use efficiency in C4 species



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