Discover the book: Brassinosteroids: A Half Century of Progress

17 Nov 2021 - By:

Brassinosteroids: A Half Century of Progress

Brassinosteroids- A Half Century of Progress

In “Brassinosteroids: A Half Century of Progress”, Dr. Mandava takes readers through the discovery and scientific research, as well as application to agriculture crops. Brassinosteroids are relatively new discoveries and are identified as the sixth group of plant hormones.

While being at the forefront of Brassinosteroid’s discovery, Dr. Mandava recognizes the visionaries that led to it. Henry Wallace, the Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940, was the first to suggest that pollen could have an effect on growth regulation in plants.  Wallace brought a sack of pollen to the scientists at the USDA to investigate. However, due to the lack of advancement in analytical methods in chemistry, nothing was found. John W. Mitchell came along and developed plant bioassays. Through 2-million-dollar funding, Brassinosteroids were ultimately discovered, leading to a cascade of Brassinosteroid research.

Dr. Mandava’s book is split up into three chapters. The first chapter covers the first 25 years of research since their discovery. This includes bioassays as well as extraction methods. The bioassays were an important part in the research of brassinosteroids because it allowed scientists to detect concentrations of the substance through its effect on plants.  Through this, physiological effects on plants could be attributed to brassinolide.

The second chapter focuses on the last 25 years of research. This includes the study of interactions and crosstalk between different plant hormones and how they work or don’t work in tandem with one another. These interactions play significant roles in not only plant growth and development, but also its immune system. Effects of brassinosteroids can be seen in responses such as elongation, bending, cell division, reproductive development, proton pumping and stress response. They were shown to have a significant role in stress responses in plants. Under temperature stress, application of brassinosteroids were able to fortify the plant, causing maize seedlings to be able to grow.  Under other environmental stressors, such as salt and drought, application of brassinosteroids was still able to promote growth and offset the effects of the stressors. This also extended into pathogenic attacks, in which brassinosteroids were found to be more effective than standard fungicides. Studies of brassinosteroids have been conducted across a multitude of plants such as tobacco, rapeseed, rice, etc.

The third chapter emphasizes brassinosteroids as the sixth pant hormone group and dives into its application. Brassinosteroids serve as advancement not only in the study of plants but in agricultural technology as well. There are three most common kinds of Brassinosteroids: Brassinolide, Homobrassinolide, and Epibrassinolide. Homobrassinolide has been commercialized for the agricultural industry for not only increasing crop yield but its compatibility with other plant growth regulators.  From an economic standpoint, application of homobrassinolide (HBR) has many benefits to both farmers and consumers. With increased yield as well as fruit size, there is also an increased sugar content, leading to better tasting fruit. Increased fruit firmness also observed in cherries.  Earlier maturity of fruit, increased sugar as well as increased durability of fruit makes homobrassinolide a very special chemical.

Using the biomechanisms of plants themselves, brassinosteroids have been a remarkable discovery. Dr. Mandava also includes all the publications that have contributed to what we now know about brassinosteroids up until 2020. A large part of this book is citations in order to provide the reader with a collection of primary resources.

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