Comparative Chemical Analysis between Modern Maize and Teosinte under Drought-Stress
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Modern maize varieties have been bred under high chemical and nutrient inputs, potentially causing the plant species to become more vulnerable and less adaptable against environmental changes. Root exudates are low molecular weight carbon metabolites that are released in the root zone (rhizosphere), which are substrates that can be utilized by soil microbes. Root exudates are also important for the recruitment and maintenance of rhizosphere microbes. This research examined the effects of maize genotypes (modern vs ancient) and water variability on maize’s root exudate rate and chemistry. We found that maize genotype has a significant effect on root exudate chemical composition, regardless of water regime. Root exudation rate was significant greater for teosinte than for modern maize, and even greater under drought-stressed conditions. Additionally, mass spectrometry data indicated correlation between the root exudate compositions of teosinte and modern maize drastically varied in contrasting irrigation levels. Due to limited time constraint, tandem mass spectra will soon be updated to provide structural information of individual exudate, selectively identifying important chemical compounds within the root exudate profiles of maize that are advantageous under drought-stress.