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STTR Phase I: Modulating Antenna Size to Increase Canopy Photosynthesis and Crop Yield Potential

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1346317
Agency Tracking Number: 1346317
Amount: $224,170.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-06-30
Small Business Information
PO Box 13487, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709-3487
DUNS: 078518027
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Xingrong Wu
 (919) 741-7113
 xwu@bensonhillbio.com
Business Contact
 Xingrong Wu
Phone: (919) 741-7113
Email: xwu@bensonhillbio.com
Research Institution
 University of California-Berkeley
 Sponsored Projects Office
BERKELEY, CA, 94704-
 () -
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project proposes to develop novel biotech plant lines with improved rates of photosynthesis in a canopy setting. The improved rates of photosynthesis will enable increases in intrinsic crop yield. Photosynthesis has evolved on an individual, rather than a population basis, resulting in reduced photosynthetic efficiency on a population basis in an agricultural setting. By optimizing plant physiology for improved light capture on a population basis in an agricultural setting, this project will improve photosynthetic carbon fixation, resulting in increased crop yields on an area basis. The research will utilize synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to identify traits that lead to significant increases in plant growth and biomass accumulation and will identify the physiological basis for these increases. In particular, this work will elucidate the molecular characteristics of light harvesting antennae that are optimized for efficient light capture leading to plant growth and biomass accumulation without wasteful dissipation of energy. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, will be the development of novel traits that will lead to improved yields across a wide range of crop plants. The proposed approach is novel, and will lead to an improved understanding of photosynthesis, and of the factors that limit photosynthetic efficiency in an agricultural setting. By developing technologies that will enable higher crop yields, this project will contribute to increased food availability and food security, and will provide an immense commercial opportunity to the agricultural sector through the development of novel crop varieties with improved agronomic traits. These new varieties will provide commercial benefit to seed companies and to growers alike. While traditional approaches to yield improvement in the agricultural biotechnology sector have focused on yield protection, this project will identify traits that increase yield potential. The technologies developed as a result of this project will augment existing agricultural biotechnology traits, providing added commercial benefit. Translating the results of this Phase I project to crop plants will result in improved crop yields and will provide important benefits to seed companies, farmers, trait developers, and to society as a whole through improved food availability.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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