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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Molecular Approaches to Enhance Plant Nutrient Content, Shelf-Life and Stress Tolerance

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Title: Translational research in agricultural biology - enhancing crop resistivity against environmental stress alongside nutritional quality

Author
item Mattoo, Autar

Submitted to: Frontiers in Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 5, 2014
Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Citation: Mattoo, A.K. 2014. Translational research in agricultural biology - enhancing crop resistivity against environmental stress alongside nutritional quality. Frontiers in Chemistry. 2(30):1-9. DOI: 10.3389/fchem.2014.00030.

Interpretive Summary: Biological revolution - genetic engineering and biotechnology – has the promise to enhance crop resilience and make a breeder's dream come true: produce more in a shorter time period, reduce our reliance on agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and fungicides, and add to environment-friendly sustainable agriculture. Irrespective of this promise, the rapid pace in the development of novel engineered crops and the considerable interest generated among growers and consumers, the application of this technology and/or acceptance of genetically engineered foods world-wide has been hampered by continued debate on the safety of such produce. It is imperative that controlled field studies of genetically engineered and other crops are carried out in an unambiguous manner alongside the wild type to ascertain which production system may provide the best medium. Such studies are expected to provide new ways to leverage growth enhancement, crop resistance to stresses, and improve the nutrient content of the edible produce in an eco-friendly environment. This article summarizes the advances made in agricultural biology, presenting good probability for developing new types of crop plants that can yield more and be nutritious with less inputs, are resilient to harsher environments, and are disease tolerant. It will interest plant biologists, geneticists, biochemists, horticulturists, and agronomists interested in making agriculture sustainable.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural security, including producing nutritious food, is needed to make agriculture sustainable. All kinds of genetically engineered (transgenic) lines have been developed, including transgenic lines that have promise of withstanding environmental extremes (abiotic and biotic) and others that have a high dose of phytonutrients. It is evident that there is a need to prioritize translational research and analyze transgenically produced edible crops by growing them under similar conditions in the field to determine the robustness of a trait. The effectiveness of this translation will require diligence and a thorough knowledge of the investigated trait in each crop. Moreover, there is a probability that ecological surprises could be more prevalent because of global climate change and interacting environment extremes. The availability of genetic toolkits together with advanced technologies, chemical genetics, and progression with alternative agricultural practices should catalyze action plans and roadmaps for scientists and farmers to work together to meet the challenges the humankind faces in this new century.

Last Modified: 11/1/2014
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