2015_07 Rice for a Future

Die Landwirtschaft der Zukunft muss nachhaltig sein. Gemeinsam mit dem IRRI forschen wir für trockenresistenten Reis.

What is the topic?

The agriculture of the future has to be more sustainable. The careful use of the essential resource water is crucial in this respect. Rapid growth of megacities, expanding deserts and population growth limit the area available for agriculture. The Green Revolution has allowed to increase yield per area by a factor of five, and this contributes to secure food supply (the fact that there is still hunger on our planet, is not a problem of agriculture, but of unfair distribution!). This undisputed success is progressively endangered - overexploited soils dry out, precious drinking water is misused for irrigation, soils turn saline. Together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on the Philippines we work for breeding rice varieties that can manage with less water and still bear high yield. We discovered mutants lacking the plant stress hormone jasmonic acid (the plant version of "adrenalin"). These mutants, surprisingly cope better under drought as compared to normal rice plants. This led to the discovery of genes that allow rice plants to "remain cool", when they are confronted with stress. Who remains cool, can also handle a difficult situation more efficiently. Our knowledge will now help to identify novel breeding candidates more efficiently in an approached termed smart breeding. The Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) has now funded this cooperation by a KHYS collaboration grant. In frame of this collaboration not only scientists from the KIT were able to work at IRRI, the world leading place for rice research, but we also were able to hold in October an international Symposium on "Stress Tolerance for Sustainable Agriculture" with participations from the Philippines, India, France and several groups of the Campus North.

Contact: Dr. Michael Riemann