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ST. LOUIS, MO – September 22, 2014 – Research to improve agriculture productivity using cutting-edge technology at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science is featured in the October issue of National Geographic. The article, The Next Green Revolution is one of an eight part series, The Future of Food and presents a variety of approaches to solving one of the greatest challenges of this century, feeding nine billion people by the year 2050.
Two research projects underway in the labs of Dan Chitwood, Ph.D., assistant member, and Nigel Taylor, Ph.D. senior research scientist, at the Danforth Center are featured in the print and on-line editions of the magazine. A two-minute video highlighting the Danforth Center’s one-of-a-kind automated Bellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility is featured in the on-line version.
“The phenotyping system is critical to accelerating our research to learn how plants work,” said Jim Carrington, Ph.D., president of the Danforth Center. “Being able to control the environment under careful experimental conditions allows us to understand the impact of a changing environment on a plant's growth and productivity. That will be incredibly important to improving crop plants as we move through the 21st century.”
Chitwood’s lab is using the Center’s unique plant phenotyping system to learn how some varieties of tomatoes are better able to resist drought. During the four to five week experiment, water rations are cut, and monitored using three kinds of imaging. By understanding how a plant responds to drought, how quickly it stops its growth, how well it is absorbing light and its water use, will provide scientists with information they need to develop crops that can better withstand extreme conditions.
Taylor’s research team that includes partners in Kenya and Uganda, are in the early stages of developing cassava varieties that are resistant to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSD). Cassava is an important source of calories for millions of people living in the developing world. These two serious pathogens are causing wide spread destruction of this essential crop in Sub-Saharan Africa, leaving people without food or income. Improved cassava harvests could increase the incomes of more than sixty percent of the households in western Kenya and central and eastern Uganda.
About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research aims to feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations.
To keep up to date with Danforth Center’s current operations and areas of research, please visit, www.danforthcenter.org, featuring information on Center scientists, news, and the “Roots & Shoots” blog. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.
For additional information, contact: Karla Roeber, (314) 587-1231 Kroeber@danforthcenter.org
Melanie Bernds, (314) 587-1647 email@example.com
| tomatoesNigel TaylorNational GeographicdroughtDiscoveryDan ChitwoodCassavaBellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility