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Enhancement of Cover Crop and Weed Stress Tolerance in Corn and Soybean

If this project is successful and commercialized, this research will produce the first cover crop and weed tolerant hybrids and cultivars available for the global seed market. This advancement would enhance crop productivity in a manner that contributes to production sustainability.

Investigator(s)

Principal investigator: Clarence Swanton

What challenge does "Enhancement of Cover Crop and Weed Stress Tolerance in Corn and Soybean" address?

This research aims to discover the mechanisms by which crop plants lose yield. To do this we must understand the molecular and physiological changes that occur when a crop plant, such as corn or soybean, experiences physiological stress caused by the presence of a cover crop or weed. In this study, we explore how crop plants perceive neighbouring plants and how the presence of a cover crop or weed alters the physiology of corn and soybeans.

How will this research address the challenge?

Laboratory studies are being conducted to 1.) explore how the presence of neighbouring weeds can trigger the cellular generation of reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide and singlet oxygen in corn and soybeans, and 2.) determine the response of antioxidants and associated gene expression produced by the plant to minimize cellular damage caused by excessive levels of reactive oxygen species.

What impact will the project have on agriculture?

If we can understand the molecular and physiological changes that occur in a crop plant growing in the presence of a cover crop or weed species, then we can begin to modify these responses in a manner that may create a corn or soybean plant that is more tolerant to underseeding of cover crops and weed competition. In addition, this study will re-define our understanding of the mechanisms of plant competition.

Other information

Partners: NSERC Discovery.

Collaborators and students: Dr. Sasan Amirsadeghi (Post Doctoral Fellow), Nicole Berardi (PhD student), Avery Richer (PhD student).

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