Project manager: Prof. Dr. Chris-Carolin Schön
In the course of climate change, increased dry periods and an increasingly unpredictable distribution of precipitation are to be expected for Bavaria. Consequently, the improvement of water use efficiency (WUE), which is the plant's ability to generate as much biomass as possible with as little water as necessary, and of drought resistance become central factors for a sustainable plant breeding.
WUE could be improved by altering the number and the aperture of the microscopic pores on the leaf surface called stomata. Stomata play a key role not only for the plant's water transpiration, but also for photosynthesis, leaf cooling, and defense against pathogens. It is therefore assumed that improving genetic traits such as stomatal properties will not only increase the plant's tolerance to water deficit, but may also be beneficial during temperature extremes, elevated CO2 concentrations, and pathogen attacks.
This project aims to investigate how improved WUE in maize, based on altered properties of the stomata, will impact the reaction of the plant to other environmental factors (individually and in combination) and ultimately effects its yield.