Plants bred to survive freezing temperatures could save crop harvests from destruction

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A snow-covered cornfield.

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have found that an enzyme in plants, ATP Synthase, plays a critical role in how plants respond to the cold. The discovery, published in New Phytologist, could be used to produce frost-resistant crops, which would save the agricultural industry millions of dollars every year.

The finding has led to new revelations about plant responses to temperature. Dr Sandra Kerbler, from UWA and PEB said the benefits of understanding a crucial enzyme for energy production being so sensitive to cold was of great use to the agricultural industry and to the future of producing frost-resistant crops.

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“The research has changed previous thoughts of how plants cope with temperature stress and has highlighted new angles for investigation,” Kerbler said.

“A better understanding of how a plant’s energy production is altered in response to changing temperatures could inform how we breed plants that are more adaptive to climate change.”

Read full, original article: Understanding Enzyme Could Help Produce Frost-Resistant Crops

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