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Mailing Address:
The Robert H. Smith Institute of
Plant Sciences and Genetics
in Agriculture
POB 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Administrator: Neomi Maimon 
Tel: 972-8-948-9251,
Fax: 972-8-948-9899,

Director: Prof. David Weiss
Tel: 972-8-948-9436
Fax: 972-8-948-9899



Ramon, U. ; Weiss, D. ; Illouz-Eliaz, N. Underground gibberellin activity: differential gibberellin response in tomato shoots and roots. New PhytologistNew PhytologistNew Phytol 2021, 229, 1196 - 1200. Publisher's Version
Steiner, E. ; Triana, M. R. ; Kubasi, S. ; Blum, S. ; Paz-Ares, J. ; Rubio, V. ; Weiss, D. KISS ME DEADLY F-box proteins modulate cytokinin responses by targeting the transcription factor TCP14 for degradation. Plant Physiol 2021. Publisher's Version
Weksler, S. ; Rozenstein, O. ; Haish, N. ; Moshelion, M. ; Wallach, R. ; Ben-Dor, E. Detection of Potassium Deficiency and Momentary Transpiration Rate Estimation at Early Growth Stages Using Proximal Hyperspectral Imaging and Extreme Gradient Boosting. Sensors 2021, 21. Publisher's VersionAbstract
{Potassium is a macro element in plants that is typically supplied to crops in excess throughout the season to avoid a deficit leading to reduced crop yield. Transpiration rate is a momentary physiological attribute that is indicative of soil water content, the plant’s water requirements, and abiotic stress factors. In this study, two systems were combined to create a hyperspectral–physiological plant database for classification of potassium treatments (low, medium, and high) and estimation of momentary transpiration rate from hyperspectral images. PlantArray 3.0 was used to control fertigation, log ambient conditions, and calculate transpiration rates. In addition, a semi-automated platform carrying a hyperspectral camera was triggered every hour to capture images of a large array of pepper plants. The combined attributes and spectral information on an hourly basis were used to classify plants into their given potassium treatments (average accuracy = 80%) and to estimate transpiration rate (RMSE = 0.025 g/min
Aharon, S. ; Fadida-Myers, A. ; Nashef, K. ; Ben-David, R. ; Lati, R. N. ; Peleg, Z. Genetic improvement of wheat early vigor promote weed-competitiveness under Mediterranean climate. 2021, 303, 110785. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Chemical weed-control is the most effective practice for wheat, however, rapid evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds threat food-security and calls for integration of non-chemical practices. We hypothesis that integration of alternative GA-responsive dwarfing genes into elite wheat cultivars can promote early vigor and weed-competitiveness under Mediterranean climate. We develop near-isogenic lines of bread wheat cultivars with GAR dwarfing genes and evaluate them for early vigor and weed-competitiveness under various environmental and management conditions to identify promising NIL for weed-competitiveness and grain yield. While all seven NILs responded to external gibberellic acid application, they exhibited differences in early vigor. Greenhouse and field evaluations highlighted NIL OC1 (Rht8andRht12) as a promising line, with significant advantage in canopy early vigor over its parental. To facilitate accurate and continuous early vigor data collection, we applied non-destructive image-based phenotyping approaches which offers non-expensive and end-user friendly solution for selection. NIL OC1 was tested under different weed density level, infestation waves, and temperatures and highlight the complex genotypic × environmental × management interactions. Our findings demonstrate the potential of genetic modification of dwarfing genes as promising approach to improve weed-competitiveness, and serve as basis for future breeding efforts to support sustainable wheat production under semi-arid Mediterranean climate.
Ben Shalom, T. ; Belsey, S. ; Chasnitsky, M. ; Shoseyov, O. Cellulose Nanocrystals and Corn Zein Oxygen and Water Vapor Barrier Biocomposite Films. Nanomaterials 2021, 11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are well-suited to the preparation of biocomposite films and packaging material due to its abundance, renewability, biodegradability, and favorable film-forming capacity. In this study, different CNC and corn zein (CZ) composite films were prepared by adding CZ to the CNC suspension prior to drying, in order to change internal structure of resulting films. Films were developed to examine their performance as an alternative water vapor and oxygen-barrier for flexible packaging industry. Water vapor permeability (WVP) and oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of the biocomposite films decreased significantly in a specific ratio between CNC and CZ combined with 1,2,3,4-butane tetracarboxylic acid (BTCA), a nontoxic cross linker. In addition to the improved barrier properties, the incorporation of CZ benefitted the flexibility and thermal stability of the CNC/CZ composite films. The toughness increased by 358%, and Young’s modulus decreased by 32% compared with the pristine CNC film. The maximum degradation temperature increased by 26 °C, compared with that of CNC film. These results can be attributed to the incorporation of a hydrophobic protein into the matrix creating hydrophobic interactions among the biocomposite components. SEM and AFM analysis indicated that CZ could significantly affect the CNC arrangement, and the film surface topography, due to the mechanical bundling and physical adsorption effect of CZ to CNC. The presented results indicate that CNC/CZ biocomposite films may find applications in packaging, and in multi-functionalization materials.
Shumeiko, V. ; Paltiel, Y. ; Bisker, G. ; Hayouka, Z. ; Shoseyov, O. A nanoscale paper-based near-infrared optical nose (NIRON). Biosensors and Bioelectronics 2021, 172, 112763. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Electronic noses (e-nose) and optical noses (o-nose) are two emerging approaches for the development of artificial olfactory systems for flavor and smell evaluation. The current work leverages the unique optical properties of semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to develop a prototype of a novel paper-based near-infrared optical nose (NIRON). We have drop-dried an array of SWCNTs encapsulated with a wide variety of peptides on a paper substrate and continuously imaged the emitted SWCNTs fluorescence using a CMOS camera. Odors and different volatile molecules were passed above the array in a flow chamber, resulting in unique modulation patterns of the SWCNT photoluminescence (PL). Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) measurements performed in parallel confirmed the direct binding between the vapor molecules and the peptide-SWCNTs. PL levels measured before and during exposure demonstrate distinct responses to the four tested alcoholic vapors (ethanol, methanol, propanol, and isopropanol). In addition, machine learning tools directly applied to the fluorescence images allow us to distinguish between the aromas of red wine, beer, and vodka. Further, we show that the developed sensor can detect limonene, undecanal, and geraniol vapors, and differentiate between their smells utilizing the PL response pattern. This novel paper-based optical biosensor provides data in real-time, and is recoverable and suitable for working at room temperature and in a wide range of humidity levels. This platform opens new avenues for real-time sensing of volatile chemical compounds, odors, and flavors.