Salt secreting microhairs in leaves of wild rice oryza coarctata: Isolation and Characterzation

Oryza coarctata is a halophytic wild rice that is found growing in the coastal regions of India and Bangladesh as a mangrove associate. It is the only wild rice species that is saline tolerant. Leaves of this wild rice species have a distinct anatomy and microscopic hair like structures (microhairs) on the lower leaf surface that are associated with salt secretion. The salt secretory mechanism found in the leaves of this wild rice help it to cope with excess salinity in the soil. Dr. Gayatri Venkataraman and her team members (Raja Rajakani, Dr. Gothandapani Sellamuthu) from the Biotechnology Programme Area of MSSRF, report for the first time, a detailed method to isolate these secretory structures from the leaf of this wild rice. The data has been published in the journal Plant Science and is the first report for any rice (Oryza) species. The optimised method can now be used to examine the development of these secretory structures, genes expressed in this tissue under salinity and the proteome of microhairs. This work forms part of a collaborative project, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (DBT; GOI) and the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), Australia to the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, (MSSRF) Chennai and the University of Tasmania (UTAS), Hobart. A video of the microhair isolation method has been posted by MSSRF on YouTube ( and prepared by Mr. S. Kannappan from Information, Education and Communication (IEC), MSSRF together with Mr. Rajakani.

Written by and photo credit: Dr S Gayatri Venkataraman, Dr Gothandapani Sellamuthu, Mr Raja Rajakani