University of Nevada researchers looking at ice to better develop biofuel feedstocks

April 24, 2017 |

In Nevada, the unassuming ice plant could become an ingenious weapon in the fight against a warming climate that threatens to limit regions suitable for growing biofuel crops. Biochemist and molecular biologist John Cushman at the University of Nevada, Reno will create a gene atlas for the common ice plant that will help find ways to allow bioenergy feedstocks to better tolerate salinity and drought.

Ice plant, which originated in the Namibian desert of Africa, is important as the first reported plant species that could be induced to switch from C3 photosynthesis (which occurs during the day) to CAM photosynthesis (which occurs at night) following salinity stress or water-deficit treatment. CAM plants are five to six times more water-use efficient than C3 photosynthesis plants.

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