Aspirin For Plants Could Help Crops Survive Climate Change

“At non-lethal levels, ROS are like an emergency call to action, enabling the production of protective hormones such as salicylic acid,” explains study author Jin-Zheng Wang, from the University of California, Riverside. “ROS are a double-edged sword.”

Through experiments on a model plant called Arabidopsis, the scientists found that heat, relentless sunshine and drought conditions caused the plant cells to produce an alarm molecule called MEcPP. As this molecule builds up, it triggers the production of salicylic acid, which goes on to play an important role in protecting chloroplasts, the organelles where photosynthesis takes place.

“It’s like plants use a painkiller for aches and pains, just like we do,” said study author Wilhelmina van de Ven.

The hope is that this knowledge around how salicylic acid forms can be applied to help plants survive climate change. This could make for more durable crops that can withstand higher temperatures, but the benefits may extend to many other aspects of the environment.

“Because salicylic acid helps plants withstand stresses becoming more prevalent with climate change, being able to increase plants’ ability to produce it represents a step forward in challenging the impacts of climate change on everyday life,” said Katayoon Dehesh, senior paper author. “Those impacts go beyond our food. Plants clean our air by sequestering carbon dioxide, offer us shade, and provide habitat for numerous animals. The benefits of boosting their survival are exponential.”

Step 1

Dissolve 3 aspirin in 4 gallons of water. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so it can totally dissolve and not just be suspended in the water. Add the liquid dish soap and stir gently.

Step 2

Pour the prepared mixture into a garden sprayer. If you notice that the aspirin has not totally dissolved, wait a few minutes, or you will end up clogging the sprayer head.

Step 3

Spray any or all of your plants about once a month with this mixture, coating the stems and leaves. It helps if you wait until late morning when the dew has evaporated off the plants

Step 4

Water the roots with this mixture at the same time by generously watering the soil around the base of the plants. Repeat it every month, the same as the spray application.

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Nick Lavars

Source: University of California, Riverside

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Source: “Aspirin” for plants could help crops survive climate change

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