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K-State Today

March 21, 2019

Kevin Folta to present plant pathology seminar

Submitted by Roxie Hawkins

Kevin M. Folta, professor of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida, will present "Genetic, Environmental, and Synthetic Control of High-Value Crop Traits" at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, in 1014 Throckmorton Hall. 

This presentation will show three ways that novel approaches have been used to control plant biology. We can manipulate plant growth, development and metabolism by examining resident genetics, skewing environmental conditions and inventing new molecules that tweak plant behavior. We have implemented genomics-level analysis coupled to consumer guidance to identify the genes that contribute to small fruit flavors and aromas, with the hope of improving varieties and encouraging consumption. We also have examined how environmental cues contribute to fresh product quality and yield. Using sprouts as a model, we have examined how various wavelengths of light influence growth patterns and accumulation of secondary metabolites. Recent experiments show novel strategies that cut energy costs, making growth in controlled environments increasingly feasible. Finally, we have developed a means to create new biologically active peptides in planta, and show that we can produce synthetic molecules able to influence discrete plant processes. 

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