1. Agriculture World

Bioactive Spray could be a Viable Alternative to GMO Crops

Agricultural plants are commonly genetically modified to increase production, consume less water, or be more pest and disease resistant. However, successfully applying such changes takes a significant amount of time and money, and many people are wary about eating the harvested plants (or foods made with them).

Shivam Dwivedi
GMO Cropfield
GMO Cropfield

Although GM crops have many advantages over their non-modified counterparts, developing the changed plants can be difficult at first. Scientists have now devised a simpler method in which ordinary plants are transformed by a spray that is sprayed on crops. The study's findings were recently published in the journal ‘ACS Nano.’

Findings of Research:

Agricultural plants are commonly genetically modified to increase production, consume less water, or be more pest and disease resistant. However, successfully applying such changes takes a significant amount of time and money, and many people are wary about eating the harvested plants (or foods made with them).

A team from Japan's RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, led by researcher Masaki Odahara, set out to build a simpler alternative that would achieve the same outcomes. The scientists aimed to develop bioactive chemicals that could be sprayed over crops and enter the cells of the plants, suppressing or triggering the activation of specific genes.

Cell-penetrating peptides, which are chains of amino acids, were one of the initial candidates considered by the researchers (CPPs). Previous research has demonstrated that such peptides may carry chemicals into plant cell structures like the chloroplasts, which are responsible for photosynthesis.

The researchers tagged various natural and synthetic CPPs with yellow fluorescence signals, then sprayed those CPPs onto the leaves of thale cress, soybeans, and tomatoes to test which peptides would perform best. When the leaves were imaged with a confocal laser-scanning microscope, it was discovered that certain of the peptides had been particularly successful in entering their cells, causing them to flash yellow.

Additional trials revealed that after being attached to sprayed-on CPPs, DNA fragments known as plasmids – which are commonly employed to transfer foreign genes into organisms like plants – may be transferred into the plants' leaves. Other biomolecules connected to the leaves led the leaves to generate larger pores briefly, allowing more of the spray to be absorbed.

Finally, the researchers looked at a plant that had been genetically manipulated to over-express yellow fluorescence in its leaves (in a typical way). The researchers were able to quiet the yellow fluorescence by adding RNA that interferes with that activity to a CPP and spraying the CPP onto the plant's leaves.

According to Odahara, "bioactive compounds given via spray could effectively increase commercially desirable quality features in crops." "The next stage is to improve the delivery system's efficiency. Finally, we expect that this technology can be utilized to protect crops against parasites and other damaging elements in a safe manner."

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