P0901 Ionomics

Ivan Baxter , USDA-ARS, St. Louis, MO
Variations in the elemental soil environments are among the major causes of plant stress. In order to adapt to these stressful conditions, plants frequently alter their elemental content. The Baxter lab employs mineral nutrient and trace element profiling, as a tool to determine the biological significance of connections between the environment, a plant's genome and its elemental profile or “ionome”. Our focus is on genes that control uptake and accumulation of solutes, including Ca, K, Mg, P (macronutrients in fertilizer), Co, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, Zn, (micronutrients of significance to plant and human health) and As, Cd, and Na (elements causing agricultural or environmental problems. We have taken several approaches to identify loci and gene x environment interactions controlling elemental accumulation in Soybean. We have found ionomic traits to be highly heritable while responding strongly to different soil environments. Combined with the low cost and high throughput of the ionomic pipeline, these properties make ionomics a valuable tool for understanding plant function.