The greatest need in agriculture this century is to mitigate impacts of abiotic (drought, temperature, salinity) and biotic (pathogens, pests) stresses on crop plants. Efforts over the last 40 years to generate stress tolerant crops via breeding or genetic modification have not been very fruitful because the underlying strategies assumed plants adapt themselves to stress. However, plants in high-stress habitats are adapted to environmental stresses only through symbiosis with fungal endophytes. Without the fungal partners, plants are no more adapted to stress than agricultural crops. Although several biochemical processes have been correlated to plant stress tolerance, few processes correlate with symbiotically conferred stress tolerance. Symbiotically conferred stress tolerance involves altered plant gene regulation, increased metabolic efficiency, and an increased ability to manage reactive oxygen species. Based on >25 years of research studying how plants in nature adapt to stress, Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (AST) developed the product line BioEnsure®, a novel seed treatment comprising fungal endophytes that form symbiotic associations with a diverse group of crop plants and confer significant levels of abiotic stress tolerance. Field tests have demonstrated that during periods of high drought, temperature and salinity stress, BioEnsure® increases crop yield as much as 300%. During growing seasons with little to no stress, BioEnsure® increases yields an average of 3%. The seminar will cover the science and development of Symbiotic technologies to mitigate the impacts of climate change in agriculture.
1. To learn that all plants in natural ecosystems are symbiotic with microscopic fungi that live entirely within plant tissues.
2. To understand that plants do not adapt themselves to high stress habitats. Instead, they establish symbiotic associations with fungal endophytes that confer stress tolerance for optimal fitness and survival.