- 10 Years “Sustainable International Agriculture – SIA”
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Master program “Sustainable International Agriculture – SIA” the magazine of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Göttingen, "agrar aktuell", published a special edition. SIA students and alumni report on their experiences during the program and on their career after the Master degree respectively.
Junior Professor Dr. Merle Tränkner is represented with a contribution in the section “Next step after SIA: a PhD”. She completed the Master program SIA successfully in 2012 and afterwards carried out her PhD project at IAPN. In her article entitled “Plant research on photoprotective mechanisms and magnesium nutrition at IAPN” she presents results of her PhD project and of her current research on the functioning of magnesium (Mg) in plant nutrition.
“If Mg concentrations within the plant become deficient, photosynthetic performance is decreased and only a small portion of light energy is converted to biochemical energy”, Merle Tränkner explains. Hence, excessive energy is formed which in turn produces reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are toxic to the plant and can cause damage to DNA, proteins, cell walls etc. To protect itself from damage, the plant uses the so called “photoprotective mechanisms”. Hereby, part of the excessive energy is converted into harmless heat, a process known as “non-photochemical quenching” (NPQ). The proportion of energy used in photosynthetic processes and the proportion of energy converted into heat can be determined by measuring the chlorophyll fluorescence. This methodology allows indication on the photochemical efficiency of the plant. It is further explained by Merle Tränkner in the special edition of “agrar aktuell”.
Merle Tränkner published a survey of her research topic for example in 2018 in the scientific journal Physiologia Plantarum in her review article “Functioning of potassium and magnesium in photosynthesis, photosynthate translocation and photoprotection”. Co-authors are the former IAPN researchers Dr. Ershad Tavakol, who also completed the Master program SIA, and Dr. Bálint Jákli. In 2019, Merle Tränkner together with her PhD student Setareh Jamali Jaghdani published newest research results on this topic from the latter’s PhD research project in the article “Minimum magnesium concentrations for photosynthetic efficiency in wheat and sunflower seedlings” (Plant Physiology and Biochemistry).
SIA: joint program of the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel
The Master program SIA is a joint degree of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at Göttingen University and the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kassel-Witzenhausen. In this English-language and interdisciplinary program, students are being qualified to contribute to a sustainable development of agriculture worldwide. Every year, about 50 students from more than 20 different countries are enrolled in the Master program.
IAPN congratulates the SIA team on the 10th anniversary of the Master program and wishes continued success.
Merle Tränkner, Ershad Tavakol and Bálint Jákli: Functioning of potassium and magnesium in photosynthesis, photosynthate translocation and photoprotection. Physiologia Plantarum 163: 414-431. 2018
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