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Breakthrough Technology to Improve Plant Production
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Objective:  USDA-ARS is currently seeking a cooperative partner to assist in furthering research to evaluate the validity, safety and utility of endophyte transfer via in-vitro co-cultivation as a means to increase productivity of various crops.


Related Technology:  ARS researchers in New Mexico have developed (Patent Application S.N. 11/500,702) a technique for improving plant productivity by co-cultivating seedlings with callus tissue from hardier plant species. 


Overview:  This technique, believed to transfer symbiotic microbes (endophytes) from callus to the seedling, has increased productivity of wheat, sorghum, tomato, chile, strawberry, watermelon, black grama grass, sand dropseed, sideoats grama grass, and poplar trees in preliminary screening studies.  The tendency for transferred endophytes to persist in subsequent generations of recipient plants, currently under investigation in native grasses, probably varies by species.  In cases where transferred endophytes persist, plant improvement via endophyte transfer may prove faster and more cost efficient than either traditional plant breeding or genetic engineering.  Productivity increases can be observed in a single growing season. 


Industry Type:  The ideal partner(s) will have expertise in one or more of the following areas: evaluating plants for increased yields or improved quality; detecting Microscopic and/or molecular bacteria and fungi in plants; and/or possessing expertise in natural products chemistry and toxicology.


Where:  USDA-ARS, Southern Plains Area, Range Management Research, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


Laboratory MissionTo produce new knowledge of ecosystem processes for developing technologies for monitoring, assessing, remediating, and managing desert rangelands.  This knowledge has application to hundreds of millions of acres of public and privately owned rangeland in the United States.  Remediation is both the cessation of rangeland degradation, if occurring, and the restoration of land resources through the use of economically and ecologically appropriate technologies.  Extensive interagency efforts involving the National Science Foundation, the Department of Interior, other USDA agencies, non-government organization, and many universities in both agricultural and biological sciences augment the in-house research program.  International agreements on three other continents extend this mission to the one-third of the world that is rangeland.   


If your company is interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact our regional Technology Transfer Coordinator:


Bryan Kaphammer

USDA, ARS, NaturalResourcesCenter

2150 Centre Avenue, Building D, Suite 300

Fort Collins, CO  80526-8119