Wheat crop resistant to climatic stress and boost yields by 50 per cent by a molecule has been discovered by an Indian researcher Dr. R.S Misra from Shiv Nadar University with the help of two other researchers, Benjamin Davis and Matthew Paul, from the Oxford University and the UK-based Rothamsted Research, respectively. “The molecule have been patented in the US, the UK and the EU by the University of Oxford. We are now in talks with three agro-chemical companies including one Israeli firm for commercialisation,” said Misra.
The molecule is non-toxic to the plant and does not get into the wheat grain. This new approach developed through the biotechnology-enabled process is known as “chemical intervention in the plant signalling approach”, he said. Misra said that this new method does not rely on genetic modifications (GM) to create super-yields or combat climate change and therefore offers a viable alternative to GM technology.
The new approach uses Trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P), a central sugar signal in plants, which regulates sucrose use and allocation, underpinning crop growth and development to signal the plant to produce more starch in wheat, he added.