Microdosing for Plants

Don’t mind me! I’m just microdosing my plants… with ALCOHOL!?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Rice and wheat are staple foods that are at risk globally due to drought. So, scientists want to improve plant growth during water restriction. Could ethanol, a drinkable alcohol, be the SOLUTION?

Khurram Bashir from Lahore University of Management sciences and an international team investigated. 

They replaced the water supply for wheat and rice crops with a water-based ethanol-containing solution. Then… they simulated drought conditions. Results? During drought ONSET, the ethanol-treated plants conserved MORE water than untreated plants. They did this by closing little pores called stomata that act as DOORWAYS into plants. 

LATER, the ethanol-treated plants also MADE and USED more sugar to grow! Well-known drought-resistant molecules also increased in the ethanol-treated plants. 

Climate change and environmental stressors are threatening our food security. The researchers believe microdosing with ethanol could curb these effects. And these well drinks are cheap!

Who’d’ve thought all plants needed was a HAPPY HOUR?!



Bashir, K., Todaka, D., Rasheed, S., Matsui, A., Ahmad, Z., Sako, K., Utsumi, Y., Vu, A. T., Tanaka, M., Takahashi, S., Ishida, J., Tsuboi, Y., Watanabe, S., Kanno, Y., Ando, E., Shin, K.-C., Seito, M., Motegi, H., Sato, M., … Seki, M. (2022). Ethanol-mediated novel survival strategy against drought stress in plants. Plant and Cell Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcac114