MU researchers find method of pest resistance for corn crops

8 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, December 13 2016 Dec 13, 2016 Tuesday, December 13, 2016 2:15:00 PM CST December 13, 2016 in News
By: Shannon Shaver, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Researchers at the University of Missouri have found the reason some corn plants are tolerant of a major pest in the United States.

The western corn rootworm is a pest that has disrupted corn fields in the U.S. for longer than a century.

"The western corn rootworm is the most important insect pest in the United States, it effects the yield of corn especially when under drought conditions," said Bruce Hibbard, a research entomologist with the USDA Agriculture Research Service. 

The rootworms hatch in the soil and then start to chew on the roots of corn plants.

Argiculture companies have tried a variety of methods to rid corn crops of the rootworms, but the insects have built up a resistance against these methods. 

MU Research Professor Richard Ferrieri said his team has now figured out how corn can survive an attack from the pest.

"We now understand the basic mechanisms for corn plants to tolerate an attack by the western corn rootworm and develop new roots," he said.

In 2011, Ferrieri's partners with the USDA at the University of Missouri found some corn plants that could tolerate an attack from the rootworms. 

Using nuclear technology, Ferrieri and his team looked at the plants and found that they were producing more auxin, a powerful plant hormone. 

The hormone helps stimulate new root growth in plants, which made up for the roots being damaged by the western corn rootworm. 

To see where the auxin was being made and where it was moving, researchers used positron emission tomography, often used in hospitals for cancer diagnostic studies in humans. 

"I've taken that same technology and moved it into the laboratory setting, and have applied it to studying plants," Ferrieri said. 

Now, Ferrieri said it is time to move forward with breeding programs. 

"This work has revealed several new insights about root regrowth in crops that can fend off a rootworm attack,” Ferrieri said in a news release. “Our observations suggest that improving glutamine utilization could be a good place to start for crop breeding programs or for engineering rootworm-resistant corn for a growing global population.”

Hibbard said the western corn rootworm is not a big problem for Missouri farms where there's more continuous soybeans or where corn is rotated with soybeans every year.

However, he warns farmers of the northern corn rootworm that he said appears to be adapting to crop rotations.

"This is something that farmers will need to be looking for even in rotated corn next year," he said.

 

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri is preparing for its second execution of 2017, even as condemned inmate Marcellus Williams continues... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:30:13 AM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA — Thousands of people traveled to Columbia and the surrounding cities to view a once in a lifetime event,... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:28:00 AM CDT August 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council met Monday to get rid of a proposal for a contracted event designed to... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 10:04:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The general public listened to the proposed 2018 Jefferson City Fiscal Budget for the first time at... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 7:56:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Construction workers are wrapping up the building expansion on the Columbia Boys and Girls Club. The Boys... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 7:04:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
FULTON - A car theft in Fulton led to a wreck that left three hospitalized Monday afternoon. According to... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 7:04:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia’s city council held its first of three public hearings for the fiscal year 2018 Annual Budget Monday... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 6:08:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City eclipse events officially ended Monday evening and, according to Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Gasps and cheers went up from crowds from around the world gathered across mid-Missouri for the total solar... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 3:44:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The total solar eclipse lasted for only a few short minutes, but the anticipation of the rare... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 3:39:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
BOONVILLE – Eclipse viewers gathered at the Boonville Airport to watch the total solar eclipse in a point of 100... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 3:28:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri began classes Monday with the second highest retention rate in the university's history, according... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 3:27:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Viewers throughout mid-Missouri sent in photos and video documenting the solar eclipse that swept across the state Monday.... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 2:57:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in Eclipse Events
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — Two men face felony charges after shots were fired at police during a vehicle pursuit in... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 1:55:15 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
CHILLCOTHE (AP) — Authorities are investigating after an officer was involved in a shooting in northern Missouri. The St.... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 1:43:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after an off-duty officer was killed and a woman was wounded at... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 1:31:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
LEE'S SUMMIT (AP) — Police in suburban Kansas City are on the hunt for a man accused of stealing a... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 1:19:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys for a condemned Missouri inmate warn that the state is preparing to execute a potentially... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, August 21 2017 Aug 21, 2017 Monday, August 21, 2017 12:51:00 PM CDT August 21, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
9am 74°
10am 75°
11am 76°
12pm 77°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:01p
Hollywood Game Night
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld