Cereal is much more drought-tolerant than other plants. Researchers have now found out why that is so. Their insight could help breed crops that are more resistant to drought.
|Processes in a leaf pore (stoma) of grasses. When the leaves
open and close, a shuttle service takes ions to and fro
between guard cells and subsidiary cells.
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Whether barley, wheat, maize or rice: The grass family includes all the major cereals. They are vital for feeding the world's population. Farmers produce 80 percent of all plant-based foods from grass crops. This success is due in part to the plants' ability to adjust more quickly to dry conditions and sustain lack of water better than other plants.
But why are grasses more tolerant to water scarcity? Can other food crops be bred for this property, too, to assure or boost agricultural yields in the future? This could be important in the face of a growing world population and climate change that will entail more periods of dry and hot weather.