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Estudian mecanismos de defensa en plantas


Saltillo, Coahuila.-Investigadores en el Departamento de Horticultura de la Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro (UAAAN) estudian la inducción del sistema de defensa en plantas para disminuir la severidad de enfermedades y condiciones adversas en diversos cultivos.

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Las condiciones desfavorables a las que se enfrentan las plantas son conocidas como estrés y afectan el metabolismo, el crecimiento y el desarrollo de las plantas. A su vez, estas utilizan una compleja red de reacciones metabólicas para dar una respuesta a los estímulos ambientales.

Estos estímulos primero son detectados por un receptor, que permite percibir y enviar señales al núcleo para responder. Dentro de las moléculas que pueden ser detectadas por los receptores, destacan los elicitores, que son compuestos con la capacidad de inducir los mecanismos defensivos de las plantas.

“Los mecanismos de defensa consisten en inducir que la planta pueda hacer algunos cambios a nivel morfológico, bioquímico e incluso a nivel transcripcional de algunos componentes que le servirán para defenderse de estrés biótico (algunas enfermedades derivadas de microorganismos, hongos, bacterias, etcétera). Incluso la planta formula una
respuesta de defensa ante condiciones de estrés abiótico (sequía, deficiencia de nutrientes, alta salinidad en condiciones de riego, alta radiación, entre otras)”, explicó la doctora Susana González Morales, investigadora catedrática Conacyt comisionada al Departamento de Horticultura de la UAAAN.

1 susana1402Dra. Susana González Morales.El objetivo de esta línea de investigación es estudiar la respuesta de defensa vinculada a cambios transcripcionales en plantas de tomate bajo estrés biótico y abiótico.

“Actualmente estamos estudiando cómo lograr activar este sistema de defensa de la planta antes de que se presente el ataque de patógenos y que con esto pueda disminuir la severidad de la enfermedad. En este proyecto estamos probando elicitores de origen natural”, detalló la investigadora.

De acuerdo con la especialista, existen elicitores —agentes patógenos— conocidos desde hace años, como el quitosán y el ácido salicílico; sin embargo, en esta investigación se están probando nuevas fuentes de elicitores que puedan despertar el sistema de defensa, haciendo estudios incluso a nivel de expresión génica.

“Estamos estudiando algunos elicitores de tipo natural, como moléculas orgánicas y algunos extractos de plantas que también sirven como elicitores, incluso algunos micronutrientes como el selenio para inducir el sistema de defensa en plantas”, precisó la científica.

La doctora comentó que a pesar de ser un tema que ya se ha estudiado muchas veces no se entienden muy bien las bases moleculares. “Queremos entender cómo pasa esto, entender toda la parte del sistema de defensa de las plantas, con la finalidad de poder utilizar esta información como parte de un sistema integral para manejo de cultivos”, puntualizó.

Plantas resistentes

La científica González Morales agregó que se puede aplicar la inducción de defensa a todo tipo de plantas como frutales, cereales, entre otras, y no solo a hortalizas. Incluso la información genética se puede utilizar para crear variedades de plantas resistentes a cierto tipo de plagas o patógenos.

“Algunos de estos proyectos los estamos trabajando con la iniciativa privada, ya que actualmente se pueden encontrar algunos productos comerciales que se recomiendan para la inducción de defensa en plantas. Considero muy importante que haya vinculación con la industria en esta línea de investigación, para hacer que esta parte de la ciencia tenga aplicación en el campo, en la agricultura. Nos interesa mucho el aspecto agrícola de México y el impacto a nivel mundial”, señaló la especialista.


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