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Understanding the plant defense metabolome - focus on polyphenols

Grant number: 18/02751-7
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2018 - December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal researcher:Cláudia Maria Furlan
Grantee:Cláudia Maria Furlan
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Denilson Fernandes Peralta

Abstract

Due to the rapid climate change currently occurring on Earth, there is an urgent need for new strategies in agriculture to meet the needs of human consumption. Arguably, understanding how plants from natural ecosystems respond to climate change is as important as understanding how our current, genetically limited, crops respond to climate change. By understanding how plant defense strategies have evolved in ecologically relevant groups of land plants we can map chemical traits onto existing phylogenies to determine their monophyletic origin. This proposal is part of a bilateral collaboration between University of São Paulo and University of Wollongong (Australia). By combining expertise of researchers from USP and UOW, across botany, plant ecology and chemistry we will be able to create the critical mass of researchers necessary to elucidate the plant defense metabolome. We are interested in how the defensive secondary metabolome has evolved from mosses, one of the basal groups of land plants, to the flowering plants. Understanding the phylogeny of these plant secondary metabolites will provide vital information on which plants have most capacity to adapt to the globally changing climate. Such information could then help us climate- proof future crops. This proposal aims to analyze and compare the polyphenol composition and the redox status of Sematophyllum adnatum occurring in two Brazilian phytogeographic domains (Atlantic Rain Forest and Central Brazilian Savannah). Also, we will analyze Ceratodon purpureus naturally occurring in Brazil and compare the phenolic diversity to Australian and Antarctica populations. This will be the first subside for answer two main questions: Do phenolic compounds act as an antioxidant defense for all main groups of land plant? And, do plants from different parts of the globe and from different phylogenetic levels respond to environmental stress by activating the same chemical defenses? (AU)

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