A recent study from Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) has revealed the benefit of eco-friendly sprays which can help plants survive drought.
"I think that the work established the methodologies and feasibilities of finding cheap and environmentally benign chemicals for agricultural application to improve the water use efficiency and drought tolerance of crops," said Jian-Kang Zhu, Professor of Botany and Presidential Chair of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.
A plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) works at the molecular level to help plants respond to environmental stresses such as drought and cold.
In the new study, researchers identified several synthetic compounds that fit well with ABA's many receptors, or cellular "docking stations," so that plants can retain water.
By finding compounds that can close these pores, researchers' findings could lead to sprays that use a plant's natural defenses to help it survive harsh environmental conditions.
"You could spray plants to close the pores only when drought or other harsh conditions threaten the plant," said Karsten Melcher, research scientist in the VARI Laboratory of Structural Biology.
The findings appear in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.