Scientists, including an Indian, have found a new molecule that could make wheat crop resistant to climatic stress and increase yield by 50 percent.

The molecule, which can be applied also in rice, maize and potato, is water soluble and can be sprayed on, or injected to a wheat plant.

The discovery could help boost wheat production in India. At 3 tonnes per hectare, Indian average wheat yield is 39% lower than China’s. China and India are the top two wheat producers.

A decade-long collaboration of Ram Sagar Misra from Shiv Nadar University with Benjamin Davis and Matthew Paul from the Oxford University and the UK-based Rothamsted Research led to the discovery.

The molecule has been patented by the University of Oxford in the US, UK and EU, and the researchers are now in talks with agro-chemical companies for commercialization.

The molecule is non-toxic to the plant and does not get into the wheat grain. The new approach developed through the biotechnology-enabled process is known as “chemical intervention in plant signalling approach, according to the researchers.

They also claim that the method is an alternative to GM technology in achieving high yields and combating climate change.

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