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New corn defenses investigated

Jan. 6, 2012, Gainesville, FL - The specifics of corn's natural defenses against insects and pests are one step closer to being completely revealed, thanks to research done by the USDA.

According to an article on the USDA website, researchers at the Agriculture Research Service have identified a series of compounds employed by corn in response to a microbial, pest or fungal attack.

One team, lead by ARS plant physiologists Eric Schmelz and Alisa Huffaker that corn, during a fungal infection, releases kauralexins and zealexins, which helps impede the spread. As well, Huffaker discovered of a new peptide in corn, ZmPep1, that’s also produced in response to fungal infection, which acts as a “call to arms,” where the peptide helps the plant mount a timely counter-offense.

For a more detailed look into the research accomplished by Schmeltx and Huffaker, please visit the USDA Agricultural Research Service page here.

January 6, 2012  By USDA


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