Scientists at the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield have found that engineering bread wheat to have fewer stomata on their leaves are better able to survive drought and use water more efficiently while maintaining their yields.

On average, it takes more than 1,800 liters of water to produce one kilogram of wheat. As water supply becomes more scarce in the face of climate change, farmers will need to produce more food to feed the world's growing population.

 

The scientists grew wheat with higher levels of carbon dioxide and less water, conditions that are similar to those expected under climate breakdown. Compared to conventional wheat, the engineered plants used less water while maintaining photosynthesis and yield. In a separate study, scientists from the Institute also found that plants engineered to have fewer stomata are less susceptible to diseases. 

 

For details, read the news release from the Institute for Sustainable Food.