Soil alkalinisation is a constraint for crop production in Australia with about 30% of Australian soils classified as sodic and 86% of these classified as alkaline. To improve alkaline pH tolerance of crop plants, it is necessary to identify alkaline tolerance mechanisms and the genes underlying these mechanisms.
A recent study involving researchers from the Plant Transport and Signalling group within The Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology discovered that Wheat (Triticum aestivum L) aluminium-activated malate transporter 1 (TaALMT1) facilitates acidification of an alkaline rhizosphere by exuding GABA and malate. Hence, this study suggests TaALMT1 may have a significant role in soil alkalinity tolerance in wheat. This research further explains the stronger association found between the presence of TaALMT1 allele and higher grain yield in alkaline soils .
The paper has been published in Plant, Cell & Environment and can be accessed here.