APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Dramatic enhancement of crop yields in agriculture applications though direct microbial application
- Increased crop biomass (Arabidopsis) yield by 250-500% both in normal and drought conditions
- Enhanced durability and survivability in different environments
- Combined plant growth-promoting traits including growth promotion and resistance to pathogens in a single strain.
- Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) have tremendous potential to help increase crop yields and reduce usage of damaging chemicals, but their utility has been limited by the variability of their efficacy. Synthetic biology and Chassis-independent, Recombinase-assisted, Genome Engineering (CRAGE) offer methods to engineer PGPRs to robustly colonize the roots of diverse crop species.
Researchers from the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) have developed an elite PGPR that possesses several interesting PGP traits natively and can promote crop yields.
Researchers have engineered a synthetically enhanced PGPR, P. simiae WCS417, to enhance agricultural production in a broader range of environments. Using CRAGE to engineer PGPRs that can robustly colonize the roots of diverse crop species, researchers have found a way to tackle feasibility issues in sustainable agriculture. PGPRs can promote beneficial plant-microbe interactions and crop yields, offering an attractive way to replace chemical fertilizers and pesticides usage.
Initial testing and strain development has been accomplished using the CRAGE system. Berkeley Lab is looking for partners to help test strains on major crops such as corn, soy, and wheat in greenhouses and fields.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
- Biotechnology: Agriculture
- Biotechnology: Microbiome