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Novel mechanism to enhance plant growth under sustainable agricultural system

Powerpoint Presentation

Abiotic  stress  such  as  drought,  cold  and  heat  stress greatly affects  plant  growth, development  and  grain  yield.  In cereals, these abiotic stress conditions reduce grain yield. The increasing global population and climate changes have also created a major challenge  for breeders  to  develop cereal crops  that  produce more  grain  under sustainable agricultural systems. To  achieve this, researchers  at Stellenbosch University  have  developed  a mechanism for improving abiotic stress tolerance in monocotyledonous  food crops  (i.e., wheat, barley, oats, maize, sorghum and sugarcane).

Transformation  of  cereal  crops  with  genes  that  targets  Small Ubiquitin-like   Modifier   (SUMO)   results   in   modification   of proteins  with  the  consequence  of increasing  drought,  heat and/or old tolerance in transformants. SUMO-proteases play a vital  role  in  regulating  pathway  flux  and  are  therefore  ideal targets    for    manipulating stress-responsive SUMOylation. Transformation of monocotyledonous crops using genes such as OTS1, OTS2  and ICE1  under  control  of  the  Rab17 inducible promotor, offers novel opportunities to capitalize SUMOylation mechanism.

Target Industries

Commercial seeds companies.

Unique Features/Benefits

  • Cereals with abiotic stress tolerance and increased protein content.
  • High value of crop with resilience to climate change and increased protein content.

Principal Researchers

  • Prof A.M Botha-Oberhoster, Department of Genetic, Stellenbosch University.
  • Dr C van der Vyver, Department of Genetic, Stellenbosch University.
  • Mr M.L le Roux, Department of Genetic, Stellenbosch University

Innovation Status: This technology is patented.

Opportunity: We are looking for a technology development and commercialisation partner.

Fund Requirements: Funding required for field trials.

Available for licensing: Yes

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