MU researchers find method of pest resistance for corn crops

1 year 2 months 5 days 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
COLUMBIA - More than 100 students gathered to compete in the 2018 Columbia Elementary & Middle School Scholastic Chess Tournament... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 5:22:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
ASHLAND – The Ashland Police Department is taking precautionary measures after a school shooting at a Florida high school. The... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 4:36:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – Elementary students displayed their creativity on Saturday. Hy-Vee hosted a Junior Chefs Energy Bite competition. ... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 3:40:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police were unsure Saturday who drove a vehicle they believe hit and killed a man on I-70.... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 2:34:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools will have two high schools by August 2019. The district held a... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 1:09:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boys & Girls Club of Columbia kicks off its 13th annual MFA Oil Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cook-off... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:35:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT- Leonard Stephenson has lived in his mobile home, on the same street, for over 20 years. "I... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:55:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Department of Mental Health is notifying 1,000 people that some personal information... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 5:16:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Amid complaints about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:54:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say the substance used in an attack on three high school... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:43:53 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou basketball player Michael Porter Jr. may be on the bench this season but that hasn’t kept him... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 2:57:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Deputies arrested a man Friday morning after he allegedly led them on a pursuit that ended in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:55:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the superintendent of Jefferson City Public... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:46:50 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - New Haven Elementary could be home to a brand new playground. The school is competing in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:44:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
FULTON - An investigation into allegations against a former staff member at the Division of Youth Services Fulton Treatment Center... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:38:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - There's a new member of the Boone County Fire Protection District team, and he's hitting the ground running... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:22:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
CENTRALIA - Police took a student into custody Friday morning after staff at Centralia High School found a handgun in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 11:16:00 AM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police confirmed a person died after getting hit by a semi truck on I-70 early Friday. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 11:08:00 AM CST February 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 41°
10pm 38°
11pm 34°
12am 33°
1am 32°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:30p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
The King of Queens

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld