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Influence of ethylene inhibitors on plant physiology, biomass, and yield.
F. E. BELOW (1), J. W. Haegele (1), A. S. Henninger (1), F. Cantao (1). (1) University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, U.S.A.

Doubling average crop yields in the next 40 years to feed a growing world population will require simultaneous improvements in genetics and crop management, as well as alleviation of biological and environmental stresses. Because many of the physiological responses to stresses are modulated by the plant hormone ethylene, we are investigating technologies that alter the level of, or the sensitivity to, ethylene as means of protecting the corn crop from stress. We have examined the competitive ethylene inhibitor 1-MCP, which decreases plant sensitivity to ethylene, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), which decreases ethylene biosynthesis, and strobilurin-based fungicides which in addition to disease control cause a late-season leaf greening thought to be associated with ethylene biosynthesis. We have applied these compounds at different growth stages, under different environmental conditions, and with varied crop management in order to evaluate when, and how, the control of ethylene can be used to improve the productivity of corn. Collectively, our data suggests that altering ethylene level (or sensitivity) alone cannot guarantee higher yields, but rather ethylene control in combination with multiple management factors that impact productivity has the greatest opportunity to increase biomass production and grain yield.<p><p>Keywords:

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