PRIME@MUSE promotes advances in plant resistance to drought in partnership with regional companies

With the support of the Occitanie Region, PRIME@MUSE will enable advances in research into plant resistance to drought, in conjunction with regional companies. The Charles Coulomb laboratory has received PRIME funding to set up the tools needed to study drought resistance.

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The aim was to find a drought-resistant sunflower variety. Variations in the thickness of the different layers making up a leaf, and in their refractive index and absorption coefficient were measured during dehydration on previously selected sunflower lines.

This study was carried out as part of a collaboration between the Charles Coulomb laboratory (Dominique Coquillat), the technologies & methods for tomorrow's agriculture joint research unit (INRAE - Ryad Bendoula, head of the ANR OptiPAG), the Fresnel institute in Marseille (Claude Amra) and Société Innolea (a plant genetics and genomics research company).

Thanks to the work of the research teams and funding from "primes aux recherches innovantes menées avec les entreprises" (MUSE - Région Occitanie), the researchers were able to develop a technique enabling the identification of the different layers without destroying the plant.

The financing of a large-sample pulse terahertz spectroscopy imaging device has been made possible by researchers working in synergy with regional companies interested in this innovative technique.

"The ultimate aim is to contribute to plant improvement (sunflower in this example) by helping them adapt to stressful environmental conditions. To this end, our Terahertz work, partly financed by PRIME@MUSE, aims to help evaluate favorable leaf characteristics, and to develop Terahertz tools for continuous observation of plants under stressful conditions," explains Dr. Dominique Coquillat.

This is a major step forward for the region, and a real future tool for the company in terms of potentially knowing why a particular genotype resists drought.

References :

Yannick Abautret, Dominique Coquillat, Myriam Zerrad, Ryad Bendoula, Gabriel Soriano, Daphné Héran, Bruno Grèzes-Besset, Frédéric Chazallet, and Claude Amra "Optical thickness of a plant leaf measured with THz pulse echoes", Proc. SPIE 11279, Terahertz, RF, Millimeter, and Submillimeter-Wave Technology and Applications XIII, 112790L (2 March 2020);

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