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玉米无需施肥亦可生长 可从空气中攫取肥料

kira86 于2018-08-10发布 l 已有人阅读

玉米地.jpg
Corn Variety Grabs Fertilizer from the Air

玉米品种从空气中攫取肥料

Plants need three things to grow: air, water and nutrients. Farmers usually take care of the last bit by fertilizing their fields. But now scientists have found a type of corn that seems to thrive on air and water alone.

植物要生长离不开三样东西:空气、水和养分。农民通常通过给田地施肥,来照顾到最后(关于养分)的这一点。但是现在,科学家们发现了一种玉米,它似乎只需要靠空气和水就能茁壮成长。

This has been sort of the holy grail, you know, if only I could grow corn and not put 200 pounds of nitrogen on it. Allen Van Deynze is a plant breeder at the University of California, Davis, and part of a team that analyzed this one corn's unusual ability.

“这就好像是某种圣杯,你知道,如果我不往上面放200磅氮(氮肥)就能种出玉米该多好。”艾伦·范德赛斯是加州大学戴维斯分校的一名植物育种家,他也是分析玉米这一非同寻常的能力的团队一员。

The corn variety hails from Oaxaca, Mexico, where it typically grows in nitrogen-poor soils. Nitrogen is needed for proteins, DNA and the chlorophyll that let plants perform photosynthesis. But the Oaxacan corn does well despite the bad soil, and with little or no fertilization.

这个玉米品种来自墨西哥瓦哈卡州,通常被种植在该地区缺氮的土壤中。氮是蛋白质、脱氧核糖核酸和叶绿素让植物进行光合作用所必需的物质。但是瓦哈卡州的玉米尽管(种植于)土壤不良(之地)、且少量施肥或没有施肥,却仍然长得很好。

The plants pull off this trick via thick, red, aerial roots that protrude from its stem - above the ground - that ooze out a clear goo packed with sugars. That slime is the perfect habitat for nitrogen-fixing bacteria: a sugar-rich, oxygen-poor environment where the microbes transform nitrogen gas into a soluble form the corn plant can use. It's an above-ground version of the nitrogen-fixation you might usually think of as happening in the underground roots of legumes, like peas and beans.

这个品种通过从地面上的茎(玉米秆)上伸出的又红又厚的气生根须努力完成这一任务,这种散发物渗出出一种含糖的粘液。那种粘液正是固氮菌最完美的栖息地,微生物在富含糖、缺氧的环境下,将氮气转化成玉米植株可以利用的水溶性养分。这是一种地面上的固氮方式,你可能通常认为它发生在豆类的地下根部,比如豌豆和蚕豆那样。

The researchers demonstrated the corn plants' talent by exposing them to labeled isotopes of nitrogen. And they were able to track the movement of the distinctly identifiable nitrogen atoms from the air, to the root, and into the plant. This pathway allows the corn to obtain up to 80 percent of its nitrogen straight out of the air. The details are in the journal PLOS Biology.

研究人员通过将玉米暴露在标记好的氮同位素中,来展示玉米的这种能力。而他们(研究人员)能够追踪明显可辨认的氮原子从空气中、到根部再到植物中的运转情况。这一途径使得玉米可以直接从空气种获得80%的氮。该研究结果刊登在《公共科学图书馆•生物学》杂志上。

Van Deynze says early plant breeders may have inadvertently got rid of corn's nitrogen-fixing proficiency long ago. "When early man made some selections for bigger ears, higher yield, perhaps they lost this ability along the way. And we have the opportunity perhaps to bring it back."

范德赛斯表示,早期的植物育种家在很久以前,可能在无意间使玉米丧失了这种固氮能力。“当早期的人们选择大叶、高产的品种时,或许它们在这个过程中就失去了这种能力。而我们或许有机会把这种能力再找回来。”

(小e英语Jewel翻译,欢迎捉虫!)

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