Dr. John Boyer, E.I. DuPont Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), will present this special seminar.
About 75% of the harvested acreage in the US is devoted to valuable reproductive structures of crops. Using maize as a model, this seminar describes experiments to identify how reproductive losses occur when crops are subjected to water limitations. The work begins with field experiments and progresses to controlled environments specifically designed to generate agricultural yields in soil at field planting densities. A major finding is that losses in photosynthesis can be critical, and sucrose solution fed to the stems of the plants can supply the missing metabolites and prevent reproductive loss. Because the feeding reverses reproductive loss without altering plant genetics, it is termed functional reversion. The reversion can be used to identify biochemical and molecular events controlling reproduction in the field, to be detailed in a symposium at the university.