Research

Nitrogen fixation in triticale and wheat

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018
  • Funding Amount: $ 260,000
  • Lead Researcher(s): Alicja Ziemienowicz (University of Alberta)
  • Funding Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions

Project Description:

This project aims at the introduction of the N2 biological fixation pathway into mitochondria of crops and will be based on the recently developed AAFC nif cluster optimized for expression in triticale/wheat mitochondria.  

Triticale offers a more effective biological system for cereal crop engineering, prior to transfer to wheat by simple crossing. The N-fixing crops will be first generated by introducing the nif cluster (codes for the biological pathway enabling N2 fixation) into triticale mitochondria using short peptide nanocarrier mediated delivery, and then transferred to wheat through simple crossing. Molecular and physiological analysis of the candidate plant will result in selection of wheat line with new cytoplasm with N2 biological fixation competency. The generated triticale/wheat crop will be then validated for its performance in greenhouse and field trials. The long-term gains include better yield of cereal crops on N deficient soils and reduced production costs due to lower need for N fertilizer use. The genetics imbedded in the cytoplasm would be maternally inherited, reducing pollen dispersal and easing further breeding for this new trait. New crops will be tested for the presence of the Nif cluster, gene expression, N2 fixation, and performance in N deficient soil.

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