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Developing a route map for rooting competency - HH3715SHN

This proposal addresses key problems to sustainable practice in hardy nursery stock (HNS) production: lack of uniformity and compromised quality resulting from unpredictability and variability in the rooting phase. In past DEFRA-funded research, we have determined the fundamental importance of having active shoot growth in cuttings, which is the site of production of the natural rooting hormone, auxin. We have also found that lack of rooting response cannot always be attributed to lack of auxin supply. This implies that differences exist in the ability of potentially responsive tissues to detect and/or respond to the auxin signal. This ability to respond to a developmental signal is sometimes called competency. We propose to use two novel approaches in HNS research, in combination with an experimental plant culture method developed under previous DEFRA research, to determine molecular causes of variation in rooting competency. We will investigate metabolites and genes correlated closely to root induction, and characterize them. Initially, we intend to target metabolites and genes implicated in auxin signal transduction, and evaluate the potential to use genes as markers of rooting competency. These molecular markers will be used in the optimization of stockplant management and the rooting environment. In turn, this will aid prediction in the nursery by improving plant quality and performance. This will help nurseries in their plant category management, and will reduce overall wastage of resources during production and shipping. This proposal accords with DEFRA’s own aims to encourage a better environment with thriving rural economies, based on sustainable use of natural resources by industries that meet customer requirements. The industry has a demand-led outlook and is conscious of the public requirement for high quality, consistency in product, and environment-friendly methods of production. Our direct contact with nurserymen and our programme of applied research sponsored by the HDC, provide the important interactions to ensure relevance of our work and communication of progress and results.
1 Assess the use of cell signalling components as early markers of competency to root in vitro. 2 Isolate and characterize genes as markers corresponding to rooting in vitro. 3 Establish and validate procedures to define metabolic changes related to rooting competency. Assess the potential to use these as rooting markers. 4 Develop and implement plan for knowledge and technology transfer.5 Investigate the feasibility of quantifying plant hormones (ABA, auxin, cytokinins and gibberellins) in crude or minimally purified aqueous extracts of a variety of plant tissues (xylem sap, immature fruits, leaves, shoots, etc.) using a bench-top ion trap LC-MS system.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Developing a route map for rooting competency   (3288k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2005

Cost: £304,097
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International, East Malling Research
Hardy Nursery Stock              
Natural Resources and Labour              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study