A new chemical to help plants retain water was developed by a group of researchers at the University of California at Riverside. This new substance could be a useful method of contrasting the increasingly pressing drought that is pressing farmers in various regions of the world and which is the main cause of crop failures. This is also underlined by Sean Cutler, professor of biology who is also one of the authors of the study published in Science.
The scientist himself speaks of a new tool which could be very useful for farmers to manage their crops when water levels are not enough. The chemical product, called Opabactin, has been under development in Cutler’s laboratories since 2013 when it was still called chinabactin, a still limited and more expensive version.
According to researchers, this chemical mimics abscisic acid or ABA, a hormone produced by plants when there is little water. This hormone does nothing but slow down the growth of the plant so that it does not wither.
The new substance works 10 times better and is a sort of “super hormone,” according to the researchers themselves. Within a few hours, you can already see an improvement in the plant and for this reason, it can offer growers greater flexibility in dealing with the same drought.