Anthocyanins are naturally active substances. In this study, anthocyanins from black rice were obtained by membrane filtration and column chromatography separation. Five anthocyanin monomers in black rice extract were identified by HPLC-MS/MS, and the major anthocyanin monomer (cyanidin-3-glucoside, C3G) was purified by preparative HPLC (Pre-HPLC).

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The DREB (dehydration-responsive element binding)-type transcription factors are classified into six subgroups, named A-1 to A-6. The members of DREB A-1 and A-2 subgroups have been reported to be involved in response to various abiotic stresses. However, there were only a few genes belonging to A-3 to A-6 subgroups to be reported. In this study, we cloned a DREB A-4 subgroup gene from maize (Zea mays), ZmDREB4.1, and analyzed its characteristics and functions. ZmDREB4.1 was expressed in roots, stems, and leaves at very low levels. It was not induced by any biotic or abiotic treatment.

Drought is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting world agriculture. Breeding drought-resistant crops is one of the most important challenges for plant biologists. PYR1/PYL/RCARs, which encode the abscisic acid (ABA) receptors, play pivotal roles in ABA signaling, but how these genes function in crop drought response remains largely unknown. Here we identified 13 PYL family members in maize (ZmPYL1-13). Changes in expression of these genes under different stresses indicated that ZmPYLs played important roles in responding to multiple abiotic stresses.

Among nuts, peanut is considered as superfood and has been effective in treating malnutrition across the globe. Peanuts have more protein and 30 essential vitamins and minerals that are effective to combat acute malnutrition. Nutritive value of peanuts reveals that nearly half of the mass of the kernel is made of lipids, whereas protein and carbohydrate constitute nearly one-fifth to one-fourth of the kernel mass.

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Traditional yellow maize though contains high kernel carotenoids, the concentration of provitamin A (proA) is quite low (<2 μg/g), compared to recommended level (15 μg/g). It also possesses poor endosperm protein quality due to low concentration of lysine and tryptophan. Natural variant of crtRB1 (β-carotene hydroxylase) and lcyE (lycopene-ε-cyclase) cause significant enhancement of proA concentration, while recessive allele, opaque2 (o2) enhances the level of these amino acids.

Domesticated species are impacted in unintended ways during domestication and breeding. Changes in the nature and intensity of selection impart genetic drift, reduce diversity, and increase the frequency of deleterious alleles. Such outcomes constrain our ability to expand the cultivation of crops into environments that differ from those under which domestication occurred. We address this need in chickpea, an important pulse legume, by harnessing the diversity of wild crop relatives.

Predicted impacts of climate change on crops—including yield declines and loss of conservation lands—could be mitigated by exploiting existing diversity within crops. Here we examine this possibility for wine grapes. Across 1,100 planted varieties, wine grapes possess tremendous diversity in traits that affect responses to climate, such as phenology and drought tolerance. Yet little of this diversity is exploited. Instead many countries plant 70–90% of total hectares with the same 12 varieties—representing 1% of total diversity.

To many, cannabis is a recreational drug; to some, it is a medicine. Now, it is increasingly seen as a crop, to be grown in quantity and engineered for better traits—not just pharmacological effects, but also fiber content and the rapid, efficient growth that makes a plant useful for biofuels. This month, in a special issue of Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, researchers delve into all aspects of cannabis biology and ecology. The work sheds light on how the plant has diversified since it was first grown 8500 years ago in Eurasia.

Oil palm has a reputation as an environmental menace. Can the latest genetic research change that?

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Lignin, one of the most abundant biopolymers on Earth, derives from the plant phenolic metabolism. It appeared upon terrestrialization and is thought critical for plant colonization of land. Early diverging land plants do not form lignin, but already have elements of its biosynthetic machinery. Here we delete in a moss the P450 oxygenase that defines the entry point in angiosperm lignin metabolism, and find that its pre-lignin pathway is essential for development.