|Topic||Source of Grant|
|Peanut crop improvement||Ministry of Agriculture, Israel|
|Sugar metabolism in melon fruits||BARD|
|Petunia flowers development||Hebrew Univ. Res. Funds|
|Effects of salt stress on citrus cultures||Israel Academy of Sciences|
The groundnut is a leguminous crop, in which flowering, self-pollination and fertilization occurs above ground. After pollination, the base of the ovary, called gynophore, elongates and carries the ovary, located at its tip, into the soil. A typical peanut plant produces about 500 flowers throughout the growing season while only about 40 pods per plant eventually reach the desirable size and are suitable for harvest. At harvest time, most of the pods are at different stages of development and are too small for the market. From the farmer's point of view, this implies that the plant wastes a considerable amount of energy (organic materials) that went into non-productive sites. Thus, the aim of this research is to reduce the number of flowers per plant and to synchronize flower formation. This will hopefully result in an increase in size of each individual pod.
Fruits belonging to the cucurbits family, like sweet melon, accumulate the following sugars: stachyose, raffinose (galactosyl-sucrose oligosaccharides) and sucrose. Any attempt to improve fruit quality should take into account the metabolic pathways of sugars during fruit development. In the present study, we investigate the carbohydrate metabolism in melon fruits. This involves several enzymes responsible for the accumulation of the above sugars.
The plant hormone gibberellins (GAs) are involved in the regulation of many developmental processes throughout the life cycle of the plant, including flower development. Several studies have shown that the developing anthers are the sites of GA biosynthesis in flowers. We propose that a well-balanced GA signal is required for normal anther development since many GA mutants are male sterile and application of exogenous GA to these mutants restores their fertility. The ability to produce male- sterile flowers has an enormous important application in production of seeds with known genetic traits. In the last year we investigated the role of GA in petunia anther development at the gene level. The aim of this study is to use the petunia flower as a model for the development of male sterile flowers to be used in genetic manipulation of seed production.
In plants, oils or fat (triacylglycerols) are stored in oil bodies called 'oleosomes' in certain tissues, like embryos, or under stressed conditions. We are using citrus cell culture as a model system for oil body biosynthesis. This study addresses several aspects of oil production under stress conditions (salty environment) in order to understand the possible role of oil bodies in relation to plant resistance under stressed conditions.