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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373700

Research Project: Enhanced Alfalfa Germplasm and Genomic Resources for Yield, Quality, and Environmental Protection

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Development of alfalfa plants with increased capability to accumulate inorganic phosphorus: Could these plants help ameliorate soils with excessive P levels?

Author
item Miller, Susan - Sue
item Samac, Deborah - Debby
item Curtin, Shaun

Submitted to: Forage Focus
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2020
Publication Date: 5/15/2020
Citation: Miller, S.S., Samac, D.A., Curtin, S.J. 2020. Development of alfalfa plants with increased capability to accumulate inorganic phosphorus: Could these plants help ameliorate soils with excessive P levels?. Forage Focus. (May 2020):4-5.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is essential for plant growth and development as it plays a central role in photosynthesis, carbon metabolism, and energy conservation. However, estimates are that at our current rates of use, many countries, including the U.S., will exhaust their domestic supply in 20 to 40 years and exhaustion of the world’s supply is not far behind. Bioremediation of soils with high Pi levels using P hyper-accumulator plants has been proposed where the Pi could be recovered from the land via plant materials. This study focused on utilizing the precision gene editing technologies (CRISPR/Cas9) to modify alfalfa to allow Pi hyper-accumulation. These results show that the site-directed mutations resulted in generally decreased Pho2 expression and increased levels of phosphate transporter expression in alfalfa, allowing over-accumulation of Pi under conditions of high Pi. These mutated plants can be used in crossing schemes to develop alfalfa varieties with increased uptake capacity of Pi. Evaluation of the effect these mutations have on the regulation of Pi uptake under field conditions as well as testing how management of such stands will be the focus of future experiments.