Navigation Links
Avoiding virus dangers in 'domesticating' wild plants for biofuel use
Date:2/15/2013

In our ongoing quest for alternative energy sources, researchers are looking more to plants that grow in the wild for use in biofuels, plants such as switchgrass.

However, attempts to "domesticate" wild-growing plants have a downside, as it could make the plants more susceptible to any number of plant viruses.

In a presentation at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Michigan State University plant biologist Carolyn Malmstrom said that when we start combining the qualities of different types of plants into one, there can be unanticipated results.

"Most wild plants are perennials, while most of our agriculture crops are annuals," Malmstrom said. "Sometimes when you mix the properties of the two, unexpected things can happen."

For example, annual domestic plants are made to grow quickly. "In agriculture we select more for growth," she said. "There is a reduced need for the plants to defend themselves because we have taken care of that."

If pest control measures aren't taken, these annual plants can serve as "amplifiers," producing lots of viruses and insects to move the viruses around.

In contrast, perennial plants in nature grow slower, but are usually better equipped to fight off invading viruses. When wild-growing perennials do get infected they can serve as reservoirs for viruses, Malmstrom said, "a place where viruses can hang out a long time."

In the domestication of wild plants for bioenergy, long-lived plants are being selected for fast growth like annuals. "Now you have a plant that could be a long-term reservoir, but it also happens to be faster growing and can serve as an amplifier for viruses. This all-in-one combination could increase virus pressure in crop areas unless mitigated."

Malmstrom said that plant virus ecology and the study of viral interactions between wild-growing plants and agricultural crops is an expanding field. In the last 15 years, disease ecology has really come to the fore as a basic science.

Most of what is known about plant viruses comes from studies of crops. To understand the complete ecology of viruses, researchers are now studying these tiny organisms in nature, too. "The mysteries of how plant viruses can play a role in ecosystem properties and processes in natural ecosystems are emerging more slowly," Malmstrom said.

Malmstrom said it's important to catch-up in our understanding of viral ecology, as there are any number of societal issues that need to be addressed in this area.

"Society wants us to be able to answer questions such as whether viruses can be used in agricultural terrorism, how to recognize a novel virus, and what happens if a virus is genetically modified and then let loose?"


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Oswald
tom.oswald@cabs.msu.edu
517-432-0920
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Avoiding a cartography catastrophe
2. Newly identified natural protein blocks HIV, other deadly viruses
3. Forensic pathology: tracing the origin of the Usutu Virus
4. Spanish researchers design biomarkers for the detection of dengue and West Nile virus
5. Retrovirus in the human genome is active in pluripotent stem cells
6. Researchers show how cells DNA repair machinery can destroy viruses
7. Recent study suggests bats are reservoir for ebola virus in Bangladesh
8. Evolution of flying bat clue to cancer and viruses
9. Do-it-yourself viruses: How viruses self assemble
10. Emerging virus in raccoons may provide cancer clues
11. New coronavirus has many potential hosts, could pass from animals to humans repeatedly
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... PUNE, India , April 13, 2017 According ... Identity Proofing, Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication ... by MarketsandMarkets™, the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 ... Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... N.Y. , April 11, 2017 ... fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University ... College of Engineering have found that partial similarities ... security systems used in mobile phones and other ... thought. The vulnerability lies in the ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/16/2017)... PARSIPPANY, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... July 16, 2017 ... ... products, laboratory equipment and analytical instruments announced the launch of its new line ... has introduced five rocking and waving shaker models (both analog and digital) for ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... Dr. Joshua Mondlick has introduced the LANAP® ... practice, Mondlick Perio, in the Phoenix area. Dr. Mondlick is at the ... FDA cleared laser treatment to re-grow bone and with significantly less pain than traditional ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... , ... July 13, 2017 , ... ... accreditation in Specialty Pharmacy. URAC is the independent leader in promoting healthcare quality ... a comprehensive commitment to quality care, improved processes and better patient outcomes. ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... After 11 years developing and ... Christopher Laing, MRCVS, Ph.D. has been tapped to lead the effort to establish ... the first Executive Director at the newly formed Capital City Innovation effective September ...
Breaking Biology Technology: