Sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops

ScienceDaily | 4/20/2019 | Staff
j.moomin (Posted by) Level 3
The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which are in a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to see increasing global demand.

The research team led by Assistant Professor Wei Ma from NTU's School of Biological Sciences genetically modified a key protein in plants which regulates the amount of oil they produce. This results in larger oil reserves in the seed that primarily serves as an energy source for germination.

Team - Method - Protein - Wrinkled1 - WRI1

The team's patent-pending method involves modifying the key protein known as "Wrinkled1" or "WRI1," which regulates plants' oil production. After modification, the seeds have a wrinkled appearance, which is the basis for its scientific codename.

In the lab, these modified seeds have successfully displayed seed oil increase that is able to produce up to 15 per cent more natural oils. The research findings were published in the scientific journal Plant Signaling & Behavior.

Plant - Seed - Oil - Component - Diet

"Plant seed oil is an essential component in our daily diet and the agricultural industry is seeking ways to maximise plants' yield while reducing environmental effects of crop cultivation, especially land use. Our research helps to increase the production of seed oil in a sustainable and cost-effective way, and it also opens up new doors in agriculture research," said Asst Prof Ma.

The ability to increase oil yield in a sustainable manner is expected to result in higher economic gain. Past research has shown that a small 1.5 per cent increase in oil yield (by dry weight) in soybean seeds equates to a jump of US$ 1.26 billion in the United States market.

Yield - Seed - Oil - Production - Biofuel

The increased yield in seed oil would also benefit the production of biofuel, which is a form of clean fuel produced from organic sources, such as vegetable oils.

Biofuel is being used in various applications, including powering machines in protected forests to reduce fossil fuel...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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