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Scientist receives grant to enhance plant root growth

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ARDMORE, Okla. — Noble Research Institute Professor Elison Blancaflor, Ph.D., recently received a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

The goal of this grant is to discover new, small synthetic chemicals that modify root system architecture in model and crop plants.

"Some of these chemicals could have important targets in root cells that will help us better understand mechanisms by which plant roots grow and develop," Blancaflor said. "Proper root growth and development is essential to producing healthy crops and grasses."

Blancaflor and Rafeiza Khan, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Blancaflor's team who assisted in the development of the project, which was ranked first of the 19 proposals submitted, will screen a library of small molecules that affect root development.

It is possible that some of these molecules could be used as new tools for basic root research or as new growth regulators for agriculturally important crops.


OCAST grantNoble Research Institute Professor Elison Blancaflor, Ph.D. (right), and postdoctoral fellow Rafeiza Khan, Ph.D., will work to discover new synthetic chemicals that modify root system architecture in plants as part of the OCAST grant.

Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Noble’s goal is to achieve land stewardship for improved soil health in grazing animal production with lasting producer profitability. Achievement of this goal will be measured by farmers and ranchers profitably regenerating hundreds of millions of acres of U.S. grazing lands. Noble aims to remove, mitigate or help producers avoid the barriers that deter the lasting use of regenerative, profitable land management practices in grazing animal production.

Researchers, consultants, educators and ranch staff work together to give farmers and ranchers the skills and tools to regenerate the land in a profitable manner. Noble researchers and educators seek and deliver answers to producer questions concerning regenerative management of pasture and range environments, wildlife, pecan production, and livestock production. Regenerative management recognizes that each decision made on the ranch impacts the interactions of the soil, plants, water, animals and producers. Noble’s 14,000 acres of working ranch lands provide a living laboratory on which to demonstrate and practice regenerative principles and ideas to deliver value to farmers and ranchers across the U.S.

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