CRISPR has used this technique to develop rice that encourages soil bacteria to fix nitrogen, which is required for their growth. The findings may reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers required to cultivate cereal crops, save farmers in the United States billions of dollars each year, and improve the environment by reducing nitrogen pollution.
Eduardo Blumwald, a distinguished professor of plant science from the University of California, Davis, led the research. Using CRISPR, he found that apigenin and other compounds induced nitrogen fixation in bacteria.
Their work has been published in Plant Biotechnology (Genetic modification of flavone biosynthesis in rice enhances biofilm formation of soil diazotrophic bacteria and biological nitrogen fixation).
Nitrogen is crucial for plant growth, but plants cannot directly convert nitrogen from the air into a form they can utilize. Instead, plants rely on the uptake of inorganic forms of nitrogen, such as ammonia, in the soil to increase plant productivity. Agricultural activities depend on nitrogen-containing chemical fertilizers to increase plant productivity.
We might modify the plants to produce more of these chemicals, according to the prospect of a plant, which could result in soil bacterial nitrogen fixation. These chemicals will result in soil bacterial nitrogen fixation, and the plants will utilize the ammonium formed, reducing the amount of fertilizer used.
Chemical screening and genomics compared rice plantsapigenin and other flavonesthat to increase the bacteria's nitrogen-fixing properties.
Then they identified the pathways that were generating the chemicals and utilizing CRISPRgene editing techniques to enhance the production of compounds that stimulated the formation of biofilms. These biofilms contain bacteria that increased the nitrogen-fixing activity. As a result, the amount of ammonium available for the plants increased.
The researchers described using the flavone biosynthetic pathway as a feasible approach for the induction of biological nitrogen fixation in cereals and a reduction in the use of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers when grown at a low soil nitrogen levels.
The path might be used by other plants. A patent application on the technique has been filed by the University of California and is pending. Research was funded by the Will W. Lester Endowment. Bayer Crop Science is also continuing to investigate the topic.
Nitrogen fertilizers are extremely, very costly, according to Blumwald. All you need to do to mitigate that cost is critical. The problem is money on the one side, but there are also the consequences of nitrogen on the environment.
Much of the fertilizer that is applied is lost, leaching into soils and groundwater. Blumwalds' discovery might assist the environment by reducing nitrogen pollution. What this might do is provide a sustainable alternative agricultural practice that reduces the use of excessive nitrogen fertilizers, according to the author.