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Stress Tolerant Plants Expressing Mannosylglycerate Enzymes


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  • Biofuel feedstocks breeding
  • Drought resistant plant breeding


  • Increased plant tolerance to drought, heat, salt, and cold
  • Ability to grow feedstocks on marginal land and with increased climate tolerance


Henrik Scheller of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University have identified genes in eukaryotes encoding mannosylglycerate synthases. Mannosylglycerate, a thermoprotectant compound, had been thought to occur only in archaea and eubacteria.

The JBEI invention involves expressing mannosylglycerate synthases in a plant to increase stress tolerance. Published biochemistry studies show that mannosylglycerate could offer resistance to drought, high salt concentration, and cold and that it is a more stabilizing compound than other osmolytes such as trehalose, which has been used to engineer drought-resistant plants. The promoter can be expressed in certain cell types or certain stages of development, or it can be expressed under environmental conditions where stress is anticipated. The construct may be used alone or stacked on other stress tolerance genes and traits.

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels.

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