F-Box Protein Targeted Plant Oil Production
In addition to their importance in human nutrition, plant seed oils are major ingredients in nonfood products, such as soaps, detergents, lubricants, cosmetics, paints, and biofuels. Demand for these vegetable oils has increased steadily due to their versatility and recent use in the development of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels. Transgenic methods that significantly increase oil production without negatively affecting other structures and functions of the plants would help address the increased demand for these oils.
Description of Technology
Michigan State University’s invention provides a method of increasing oil production in plant tissues, especially seeds, by genetically engineering over-expression of F-box genes in plants. Genetic constructs of the invention include a gene promoter sequence and a sequence encoding a plant F-box protein that is functionally linked to a seed-specific gene promoter to produce the effect.
- Increases seed oil content: Seed oil content may be increased by up to 10 percent.
- Stackable: May be used with other transgenic trait genes or combined with other oil-production genes to attain additive or synergistic effects on oil production.
- Creates new high-calorie-density forage crops: Accumulation of oil in plant leaves and stems increases the calorie content of forage crops. This may improve weight gain and productivity of livestock that are fed the improved forage.
- New biofuel crops: Per-acre oil production is a major performance attribute of biofuel crops. This technology may be used to create plants that accumulate oil in their leaves and stems, which may greatly increase the amount of oil produced per acre. Increased seed oil content is also beneficial for biofuel production.
This invention is useful for producing transgenic plants for the purpose of obtaining optimal oil yields. The invention is applicable to crops used for producing oils for food, biofuels and bioplastics feedstock, soaps, detergents, lubricants, biofuels, cosmetics, and paints.
Germany and United Kingdom patents issues; U.S. and additional foreign patents pending
John Ohlrogge, Sari Ruuska, Yonghua Li
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Michigan State University