Moisture stress is a challenge to cowpea production in the drought prone areas of eastern and north eastern Uganda, with yield losses of up to 50% reported. Genotypes grown by farmers are not drought tolerant. This study was therefore, undertaken at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo to identify cowpea genotypes tolerant to drought. Thirty cowpea accessions comprising of Ugandan landraces and released varieties, Brazilian lines, Makerere University breeding lines, elite IITA germplasm and seven IITA drought tolerant lines as checks were screened for drought tolerance at vegetative and reproductive stages. The experiment was designed as a 2 × 37 factorial and laid out in a split-plot arrangement, 37 genotypes of cowpea at two soil moisture stress levels (T1, no stress and T2, severe stress) with all factorial combinations replicated two times in a screen house. The genotypes showed considerable variability in tolerance to drought. Genotypes were significantly different for chlorophyll content (P ≤ 0.01), efficiency of photosystem II (P ≤ 0.05), non-photochemical quenching (P ≤ 0.05), recovery (P ≤ 0.01), delayed leaf senescence (P ≤ 0.01), grain yield (P ≤ 0.01), 100 seed weight (P ≤ 0.05), number of pods per plant and number of seeds per pod (P ≤ 0.001). There was a highly significant positive correlation between chlorophyll content and efficiency of photosystem II (r = 0.75, P ≤ 0.001) implying that chlorophyll content and efficiency of photosystem II could be used as efficient reference indicators in the selection of drought tolerant genotypes. Genotypes SECOW 5T, SECOW 3B, SECOW 4W, WC 30 and MU 24 C gave relatively high yields under stress and no stress conditions, maintained above mean chlorophyll content, efficiency of photosystem II and had good recovery scores from stress and thus were tolerant to drought stress induced at both vegetative and reproductive stages.
More PhotosynQ related publications are available here
Check out the new publication in Photosynthesis Research, using the MultispeQ and PhotosynQ Platform (10.1007/s11120-017-0449-9)
Faster photosynthetic induction in tobacco by expressing cyanobacterial flavodiiron proteins in chloroplasts
Rodrigo Gómez, Néstor Carrillo, María P. Morelli, Suresh Tula, Fahimeh Shahinnia, Mohammad-Reza Hajirezaei, Anabella F. Lodeyro
Plants grown in the field experience sharp changes in irradiation due to shading effects caused by clouds, other leaves, etc. The excess of absorbed light energy is dissipated by a number of mechanisms including cyclic electron transport, photorespiration, and Mehler-type reactions. This protection is essential for survival but decreases photosynthetic efficiency. All phototrophs except angiosperms harbor flavodiiron proteins (Flvs) which relieve the excess of excitation energy on the photosynthetic electron transport chain by reducing oxygen directly to water. Introduction of cyanobacterial Flv1/Flv3 in tobacco chloroplasts resulted in transgenic plants that showed similar photosynthetic performance under steady-state illumination, but displayed faster recovery of various photosynthetic parameters, including electron transport and non-photochemical quenching during dark–light transitions. They also kept the electron transport chain in a more oxidized state and enhanced the proton motive force of dark-adapted leaves. The results indicate that, by acting as electron sinks during light transitions, Flvs contribute to increase photosynthesis protection and efficiency under changing environmental conditions as those found by plants in the field.
More PhotosynQ related publications are available here
On October 18, 2017, the Interdisciplinary Workshop on the dissemination of knowledge on “Intellectual Information Technologies in Education and Science” took place at the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology of the Ternopil National Pedagogical University (TNPU).
The co-organizers of this event were Andriy and Natalia Hertz, employees of the Department of General Biology and Methodology of Natural Sciences Teaching and the Department of Botany and Zoology (Faculty of Chemistry and Biology of TNPU).
According to the program, a demonstration of the possibilities of IT solutions in biological, educational and pedagogical research took place.
In particular, the on-line PhotosynQ platform was presented as a web tool for an integrated assessment of the physiological state of plants.
Information was disseminated on how the MultispeQ can measure, collect and analyze photosynthesis data in field and laboratory conditions.
The focus was on the openness and flexibility of the PhotosynQ platform and the development of educational tools through it, and more.
The students and faculty all wished to have the opportunity to work with MultispeQ and PhotosynQ and to evaluate the condition of plants for themselves.
Following the PhotosynQ Workshop (see Dan’s post), we had moved to the LIL conference site at Laico Ouaga 2000, a high security hotel/conference venue outside of Ouagadougou city. “Feed the Future” is a program funded by USAID under the US government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. This program has been engaging many universities, institutions and private organizations in the US, Africa and Central/South America to improve the quality and management of legume, and contributing to the well-beings of local people. Michigan State University (http://legumelab.msu.edu/) is one of the leading institutions contributing researches and new technologies to the world.
One of the designated official languages being French, we had a simultaneous translation through headphone at this conference. The last time when I had to use French in daily basis was almost 20 years ago. Listening to the scientific talks was manageable, but my speaking ability was quite embarrassing. Another challenge was internet connectivity. As Dan mentioned, we had to manage the workshop with almost no internet connection. We were hoping to have a better connection at this best hotel in Burkina Faso, but unfortunately, it seemed the system could not handle a large traffic at once. The conference participants expressed that they had never experienced this in the past anywhere in Africa. It seems it was an isolated incidence, but we came up with some better solutions for the future.
PhotosynQ booth (From right: Dan, Frank and Atsuko)
Presentation by Dr. Irvin Widders, Director of Legume Innovation Lab, MSU. PhotosynQ was mentioned as one of the highlights of the ‘Feed the Future’ program.
At the last LIL conference held at Livingston, Zambia, Dave Kramer and Dan TerAvest presented the PhotosynQ project using MultispeQ Beta. This year in Burkina Faso, not only the people from Kramer Lab (Dave, Dan, Donghee Hoh, Isaac Osei-Bonsu and me), but also our PhotosynQ collaborators (Dr. Isaac Dramadri in Uganda, Dr. James Kelly with Dr. Jesse Traub and Dr. Wayne Loescher of MSU, and Dr. Kelvin Kamfwa of U of Zambia) presented more detailed and sophisticated data showing the correlations among photosynthesis, plant responses and gene expressions. It was very encouraging for us to see more people started thinking that the PhotosynQ platform and hand-held devices are useful and practical to the broad applications.
We are very excited about the new challenges, collaborations and long-lasting friendships. And we all hope to see you again!
Measuring non-photochemical quenching in a few seconds without an initial long dark acclimation.
Over the past 3 years, many MultispeQ users have noticed that the NPQ(T) parameter (and ΦNPQ) can be a powerful predictor of plant stress, either biotic or abiotic. The NPQ(T) parameter has also correlated with crop yields in some PhotosynQ projects, like this project from Malawi.
Indeed, one of the big breakthroughs with the MultispeQ is the ability to estimate NPQ (Non-Photochemical Quenching) without a long dark acclimation period, which allows us to develop robust protocols that take less than 20 seconds. So how is the NPQ(T) parameter derived and how does it compare to the established NPQ parameter?
Tietz et al. out of the Kramer Lab have just published a paper in Plant, Cell and Environment describing the parameter and its derivation. Congratulations!
Tietz, S., Hall, C. C., Cruz, J. A., Kramer, D. M. (2017) NPQ(T): a chlorophyll fluorescence parameter for rapid estimation and imaging of non-photochemical quenching of excitons in photosystem-II-associated antenna complexesPlant. Cell Environ. 40(8), 1243–1255. doi:10.1111/pce.12924
The first version of the MultispeQ, the MultispeQ beta has been a great instrument, workhorse and proof of concept for the PhotosynQ platform and its utility in phenotyping plants outside the lab in large sample sizes. There are still MultispeQ beta instruments out there which are in use. We have decided with a heavy heart to stop the active development for them, since they have already exceeded their anticipated lifespan and focus our limited resources on the new MultispeQ v1.0.
So, what does it mean?
You will still be able to use the instruments and use the existing protocols, as well as create your own new ones. If there will be a change that breaks the compatibility with the Platform, we will give you enough of a heads up, so you can finish your experiments before we release the update. Since all the informations about the instrument is open, we hope that fixes or improvements might be made by the community to extend the instrument’s lifetime.
We are no longer supporting hardware fixes, mainly, because we don’t have parts in stock any more. Pieces like the light guides were custom made and can’t be ordered. Electronic parts can be ordered and we are more than happy to point you to where to source the needed parts. Just let us know and write to email@example.com. Otherwise, we advice you to get the new MultispeQ v1.0 for your future data collection.
There are no more measurement protocols developed for the old MultispeQ beta. The structure and some of the commands have changed when we introduced the new MultispeQ v1.0 and some of the new features would need a complete re-write of the instruments software (firmware).
We are no longer updating the firmware since we want to focus our limited resources on the current instruments and make sure they receive updates and improvements on a regular bases. As long as the communication protocol doesn’t change, the instruments can be used with the apps and submit data to the PhotosynQ platform.
We would like to say thank you again to all the beta testers not only for testing the MultipseQ beta, but the PhotosynQ platform as a whole. We learned a lot and the new MultispeQ v 1.0 has benefitted from those experiences a lot.
I traveled to the MSU K-12 Partnership 2017 Spring Workshop at the Kellogg Biological Station on April 18 with Klara Schnargl. Klara is a Future Academic Scholars in Teaching fellow and she is interested in strengthening the connections between Universities and K-12 education programs. The purpose of the program on this day was to bring graduate students and postdocs from MSU together with middle and high school biology teachers.
Klara and I were going to run a session for teachers who were interested in new, hands on, methods of teaching kids about photosynthesis. We thought that the MultispeQ instrument, combined with the ease of generating simple graphs on the PhotosynQ platform, could be a great way for students to visualize how plants use the light energy they capture and how they respond and regulate photosynthesis in response to their environment.
We conducted a really simple experiment with the teachers so they could see PhotosynQ in action. Klara brought along two orchids in small pots and it was a beautiful, sunny spring day. So, we quickly created a project (‘KBS educational module April, 2017’) on www.photosynq.org that asked which session (we had one morning and one afternoon session) was collecting data and whether the plant was inside or outside (2 minutes). Then, after a brief talk about how to connect your phone to the MultispeQ and how to take a quality measurement (4 minutes) the teachers collected some measurements from the orchids in the classroom (5 minutes). Next, we took our orchids out into the sunshine and gave them time to adjust to their new surroundings (2 minutes). After a few more MultispeQ measurements we were heading back into the classroom to check out our data (5 minutes). We logged on to our PhotosynQ project and created a couple of graphs to compare Phi2, PhiNPQ, PhiNO and LEF inside and outside (4 minutes).
In 22 minutes we went from ‘this is MultispeQ’ to ‘look how our orchids regulated incoming light in our experiment.’
The teachers that came to our session were great, with lots of fun ideas on how they could use PhotosynQ in their classrooms and we are looking forward to working with them in the future.