Seaweed extract could aid drought-stressed crops in UK

This spring has seen large extremes in weather patterns from drought to flooding, causing stress to arable crops. But one researcher at University College, Cork, believes a certain chemical found in seaweed could make crops more stress tolerant.

Along with factors such as extremes of temperature, inadequate nutrient supply and excess light intensity fall under the general term of abiotic stress, which can reduce yields by up to 82%.

And a team of researchers at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) at University College, Cork in Ireland, have been researching stress tolerance by plants. In particular, managing abiotic stress, the mechanisms, chemical or genetic, by which the responses to crop stress can be improved.

One approach being investigated is applying Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed extract and this has been trialled in forage maize, spring barley, oilseed rape and maincrop potatoes.

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