ALIGARH : A remarkable discovery of a new protein in plants by a faculty member at the Aligarh Muslim University, in collaboration with a few other researchers from Germany, will “improve the salt stress tolerance of crop plants” and the farm land with high salinity soil will be amenable to cultivation.
Dr Tariq Aftab (Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, AMU), together with other collaborators from Germany, identified a new protein and named it HvHorcH, which plays an important role in conferring salt stress tolerance in barley plants. Salt stress tolerance of crop plants is a trait with increasing value for future food production.
The research work has been carried out at Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany during the assignment to Dr Aftab as Visiting Scientist. After several years of further studies and repeat trials, the report has been published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Dr Aftab said that the identification of this protein will open new horizons in developing stress-resilient crop plants.
“Global climate change, which is predicted to be accompanied by prolonged and intensified drought periods, is likely to aggravate this situation even further. Intensified irrigation attempts to combat drought ultimately increase soil salinity and thus eventually impede farmland cultivation when salinity reaches threshold levels that can no longer be tolerated by crop plants. It is therefore an eminent goal for a global sustainable food supply to improve the salt stress tolerance of crop plants in order to push these thresholds of soil salinity upwards so that more farmland with high-salinity soil will still be amenable to agriculture,” said Dr Aftab.