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Agricultural Biotechnology

Increasing Shelf Life of Perishable Produce Using Patented Gene Technology

The eIF‑5A protein is highly conserved in all plants and animals and is the only protein in any organism that has the unique hypusine modification caused by the Deoxyhypusine Synthase (DHS) enzyme. The unmodified-to-hypusinated ratio of these two forms of eIF‑5A determines the fate of the cell. Recent studies suggest that eIF‑5A is mainly involved in RNA metabolism and movement through the cell, thereby regulating cell growth, proliferation, and programmed death. These stable genetic changes will significantly enhance crop traits, including:

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An Updated Round-Up of the Top Plant Genome Databases

There’s more plant genome databases than there ever has been before. We’ve collated the most recent databases for ontology information on a variety of crops, including: rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, rye, and oats.

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EU Court of Justice Rules that Gene Edited Organisms will be Regulated as GMOs

On 25 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, issued a decision clarifying whether the EU would regulate products of innovative breeding techniques, like gene editing, under the EU’s Directive 2001/18, the principal EU law governing the regulation of GMOs.

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Regulating Biostimulant Products

Degrading soil quality and increased interest in sustainable farming have caused the biostimulant market to go from strength-to-strength and it is expected to reach $4.14 billion by 2025. [1] Despite this, companies have expressed concerns that the regulation of biostimulants will hinder industry growth and the longevity of small companies and start-ups.

We spoke to Nick Moon, Global Regulatory Manager, Plant Impact, to discuss the regulation of biostimulants and its impact on industry.

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Transcriptomic Profiling of Pearl Millet for Salinity Stress Response

In an article which discussed the exploration of the ‘orphan crop’ pearl millet, Amibka Dudhate concluded that photosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathways are significantly activated on the advent of drought stress in pearl millet. Her colleague, Harshraj Shinde, expands on these findings.

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Unraveling the Regulatory Quagmire of Agrobiologicals

At the Partnerships in Biocontrol, Biostimulants, & Microbiome: Europe, Peter Jens, Director of Strategic Alliances at Koppert Biological Systems and CEO of AND Biopharma, discussed regulation from product to systems thinking.

He focused specifically on the way in which consumers and citizens have become more vocal on the quality of products, arguing that the current regulatory discussion is fated and different thinking is required.

Here, he explains what he means by ‘different’ kinds of thinking and how this could help unravel the regulatory quagmire of agrochemicals and agrobiologicals.

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The Long Shadow of the European Ruling on New Breeding Technologies

Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that gene-edited crops are equivalent to transgenic GMOs. The court ruling came as a surprise because it negates a preliminary opinion that was issued by the court’s Advocate General Michael Bobek in January 2018. This reactionary ECJ ruling might become the final nail in the coffin of the European Agbiotech sector and many scientists, including myself, are concerned that it will discourage the use of genome editing in agriculture.

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Novel Photosynthesis Technology – the Solution to the Global Food Security Crisis?

Ensuring global food security

The human population is increasing, which means that we need to improve crop productivity to maintain food security. Over the last century, plant breeding and modern agriculture have made large gains in productivity. However, this growth is not keeping pace with demand. If plant photosynthesis could be improved, this would provide breeders with a new tool to increase crop yields. This has been a major research focus over the last 20 years and significant progress has been made in understanding this process. However, crops with improved photosynthesis have yet to be successfully commercialised.

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