Boron Tolerance in Cereals

Boron is an essential micronutrient for healthy plant growth. However, boron toxicity and deficiency are significant agricultural problems around the world. Deficiency is relatively easy to manage using boron rich fertilizers, but toxicity is considerably more difficult to manage agronomically.

In South Australia toxicity is the problem, with more than 30 % of soils in our grain growing regions affected. Over the last 25 years it has been established that the best way to overcome the problem is through the use of genetic variation and molecular plant breeding. 


Our Objective:
The objective of the boron focus group is to enhance the efficiency of breeding for boron toxicity tolerance in wheat and barley, either through conventional or transgenic approaches. An important aspect is the delivery of outcomes to breeders such as markers, alleles, and genetic material.


Our Strategy:
We adopt an integrated strategy to investigate the genetic and molecular basis for tolerance in barley and wheat. To do this we use both Forward Genetics (e.g. positional cloning) and Reverse Genetics (the candidate gene approach). Our work has its foundations in strong genetics, much of which has been done here at the Waite Campus in Adelaide.




Selected Publications:

  • Hayes J. E., Pallotta, M., Baumann, U., Berger, B., Langridge, P., Sutton, T. 2013. Germanium as a tool to dissect boron toxicity effects in barley and wheat. Functional Plant Biology,
  • Schnurbusch, T., Hayes, J. and Sutton, T. 2010. Boron toxicity tolerance in wheat and barley: Australian perspectives. Breeding Science. 60(4): 297.
  • Schnurbusch, T., Hayes, J., Hrmova, M., Baumann, U., Ramesh, S.A., Tyerman, S,D., Langridge, P. and Sutton, T. 2010. Boron Toxicity Tolerance in Barley through Reduced Expression of the Multifunctional Aquaporin HvNIP2;1. Plant Physiology 153: 1706-1715.
  • Shi, BJ., Sutton, T., Collins, N., Pallotta, M. and Langridge, P. 2010. Construction of a barley bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library suitable for cloning genes for boron tolerance, sodium exclusion and high grain zinc content. Plant Breeding. 129 (3): 291-296.
  • Hassan, M., Oldach, K., Baumann, U., Langridge, P. and Sutton, T. 2010. Genes mapping to B tolerance QTL identified by suppression subtractive hybridisation. Plant Cell and Environment. 33. 188-198.
  • Schreiber, A.W., Sutton, T., Caldo, R.A., Kalashyan, E., Lovell, B., Mayo, G., Muehlbauer, G.J., Druka, A., Waugh, R., Wise, R.P., Langridge, P. and Baumann, U. 2009. Comparative transcriptomics in the Triticeae. BMC Genomics 10: 285
  • Schnurbusch, T., Langridge, P. and Sutton, T. 2008. The Bo1-specific PCR marker AWW5L7 is predictive of boron tolerance status in a range of exotic durum and bread wheats. Genome 51 (12): 963-971.
  • Sutton, T., Baumann, U., Hayes, J., Collins, N.C., Shi, BJ., Schnurbusch, T., Hay, A., Mayo, G., Pallotta, M., Tester, M. and Langridge, P. 2007. Boron toxicity in barley arising from efflux transporter amplification. Science 318: 1446.
  • Schnurbusch, T., Collins, N.C., Eastwood, R.F., Sutton, T., Jefferies, S.P. and Langridge, P. 2007. Fine mapping and targeted SNP survey using rice-wheat gene colinearity in the region of the Bo1 boron toxicity tolerance locus of bread wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 115 (4): 451-461.
  • Patterson J., Ford K., Cassin A., Natera S. and Bacic A. 2007. Increased abundance of proteins involved in phytosiderophore production in boron-tolerant barley. Plant Physiology 144 (3):1612-31.
  • Roessner U., Patterson J.H., Forbes M.G., Fincher G.B., Langridge P. and Bacic A. 2006. An investigation of boron toxicity in barley using metabolomics. Plant Physiology 142 (3): 1087-101.
  • Hayes J.E. and Reid R.J. 2004. Boron tolerance in barley is mediated by efflux of boron from the roots. Plant Physiology. 136 (2):3376-82.


Group members

Tim Sutton
Julie Hayes
Margaret Pallotta
Alison Hay

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