dry land with corn crop growing

How vinegar can make plants drought resistant

As our planet gets drier due to global climate change, the survival of organisms and plant productivity is seriously endangered.

This leads to the deterioration of the environment making scientists question what kind of biological pathways are activated to make plants drought resistant.

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) discovered this pathway in Arabidopsis mutants that have strong drought tolerance, although the reasons have been unknown so far.

After 14 days, the researchers found that over 70 per cent of the plants treated with acetic acid had survived while all the other plants had mostly died.

These plants have a mutation to an enzyme called HDA6 (histone deacetylase6).

The initial tests of a normal Arabidopsis under drought stress showed that genomic-wide expression of HDA6 was linked to activation of the biological pathway that produces acetate – which is the main component found in vinegar.

The scientists found that in mutated plants, under the same condition, it triggered the pathway even more and the plants produced larger quantities of acetate.

It was further discovered that HDA6 enzyme acts as a switch that controls which pathway is activated. Under normal circumstances the plants breaks down sugar for energy but under drought conditions, it switches to acetate-producing pathway.

On measuring acetate levels, the scientists found that the amount of acetate produced by plants during drought directly correlated to how well they survived.

To confirm this further, they tested plants with mutations in two of the genes found in the acetate-biosynthesis pathway and found that these mutated plants produced less acetate and were more sensitive to drought than normal plants.

This means that by increasing the amount of acetate, plants can survive longer in drought conditions.

The team tested this by growing normal plants in drought conditions and treating with acetic acid, other organic acids and water.

After 14 days, the researchers found that over 70 per cent of the plants treated with acetic acid had survived while all the other plants had mostly died.

They performed the same experiments on wheat, maize and rice and found that same signalling pathway from the HDA6 switch increasing drought tolerance in plants grown in optimal acetic acid concentrations.

Scientists believe that this is a simple, useful and inexpensive method of increasing drought tolerance in a variety of plants.

Now you know – when we have a dry spell, perhaps a little vinegar will help you plants survive the season.

Source: Nature Plants

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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