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Enhancing Plant Growth and Response to Nitrogen

University of Missouri System: University of Missouri-St. Louis
posted on 06/10/2011

Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for plant production. Scientists at the University of Missouri—St. Louis and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis have determined a method to produce transgenic plants having the ability to increase the capture and utilization of nitrogen. Phospholipase D (PLD) and its lipid product phosphatic acid (PA) play important roles in a plant’s response to various stresses, such as root development, stomal development and freezing tolerance. By altering the expression (e.g., overexpressing or underexpressing) of phospholipase Dε (PLDε), plant growth and seed production are increased. By altering the expression of PLDε, this method increases plant yield, a plant’s biomass production, and the plant’s ability to grow under hyperosmotic stress such as drought.

Suggested Uses

  • Increase plant production without increasing the amount of fertilizer (e.g., nitrogen) used
  • Improve crop growth and yield under different levels of nitrogen


  • 25% higher seed yield
  • 20% longer primary root length
  • Increase a plant’s ability to capture and utilize nitrogen (e.g. up to 40% greater use of nitrogen)
  • Increase plant’s biomass production: increase in leaf size and cell number
  • Increase plant growth under hyperosmotic stress

Innovation Details

File Number: 08UMS003 

Other Information:

  • Method completed in Arabidopsis but applicable toward corn and soybean
  • Field trial to test in soybean about to start

IP Protection

Patent Number(s): 2010/0037351

License Online

This innovation currently is not available for online licensing. Please contact Tamara Wilgers at University of Missouri System: University of Missouri-St. Louis for more information.

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Principal Investigator:

Xuemin "Sam" Wang Xuemin "Sam" Wang

Innovations (1)

Case Manager:

Tamara Wilgers Tamara Wilgers

Innovations (10)

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February 11, 2009

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