, Farm Journal Crops & Issues Editor
Ever drink Gatorade when you're hot and bothered? The idea is you're trying to prevent dehydration and give your body a chance to recover from the effects of stress.
Now, imagine being able to do something similar for your corn, soybean, wheat or cotton fields. A cutting edge technology coming from Syngenta Crop Protection called Invinsa aims to be the first-ever product introduced into field crop markets to specifically protect crop yield during transient periods of high temperature, mild-to-moderate drought and other crop stresses.
Syngenta and AgroFresh Inc., a subsidiary of Rohm and Haas, have a strategic alliance to develop and commercialize the plant growth regulator. The company plans an extensive demonstration program with Invinsa in 2009 and a commercial launch in 2010.
When crops are under stress they produce excess levels of the plant hormone, ethylene, says Bernd Druebbisch, technical brand manager for Syngenta. The plant responds to the ethylene signal by slowing or shutting down its normal growth and development activities and replaces them with efforts to avoid or isolate the stress. These responses may include kernel, pod or boll abortion, premature leaf death and reduced photosynthesis.
"Stress happens almost every day, but if there's a recovery period the plant can adapt,” Druebbish explains. "Invinsa helps manage and minimize stress during temperature and drought peaks to help crops maintain their full yield potential.”
To utilize the product, growers spray it on the crop during periods of local, moderate stress. Invinsa uses a unique mode of action called 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) that is structurally very similar to naturally occurring ethylene. It binds with plant receptors to block the "stress” signal from ethylene.
The product has already been proven in crops like apples and flowers. In commodities like corn and soybeans, Druebbisch says Invinsa should lead to less premature leaf senescence during hot, dry periods and protect the plant's photosynthetic capability.
"It has a high potential for synergy with drought tolerance breeding programs too,” he adds.
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