Experts on metals in plants from 36 countries met in České Budějovice
One hundred and seventy-one experts from 36 countries are involved in the international network of researchers "Metabolism of trace metals in plants" PLANTMETALS, which focuses on metals in plants and is funded by the European COST program (CA19116, www.plantmetals.eu). These days, from 24 to 27 August 2021, the project members were meeting for the first time at the joint introductory conference of this network in České Budějovice. The meeting served to intensify the contacts between the members of this network, to review the achievements since the beginning of the Action and to plan activities of the network for the coming year.
"Many trace metals, such as iron, cobalt, copper or zinc, are essential for plants, but also animals incl. people. A lack of trace metals means a problem in nutrition; on the other hand, already slightly higher concentrations of metals may become toxic," says Hendrik Küpper, Head of the Department of Plant Biophysics and Biochemistry BC CAS, and the leader (chair and grantholder scientific representative) of the project. Trace metal homeostasis in plants is an up-to-date research topic and is at the core of many challenges currently facing agriculture and human societies.
The new PLANTMETALS COST Action was launched in October, bringing together biologists, (bio)physicists, (bio-geo)chemists, molecular geneticists, ecologists, agronomists and soil scientists to produce not only new insights into plant functioning but also to propose innovations for agriculture, crop production and breeding, as well as environmental protection. The main aim of the project is to provide an international and interdisciplinary exchange of experience. Thus the Action organizes scientific conferences and workshops and establishes new cooperation opportunities during internships and scientific discussions. It is also crucial that applied research experts and industry partners are involved in the project. Disseminating research results and translating them to the needs of farmers and consumers to practical application in agriculture and other sectors is the common goal of the Action. Practical innovations may include, for example, better-targeted fertilization, crop cultivar breeding, critical evaluation of the benefits and risks of genetically modified plants, more effective estimation of ecological risks and, last but not least, phytoremediation tools, i.e. the use of plants to remove toxic metals from polluted soils and water resources.
The opening talk was given by the director of the Biology Centre of the CAS Libor Grubhoffer and the chair and grantholder scientific representative of the Plantmetals Action Hendrik Küpper. Photo: Daniela Procházková, BC CAS