System for Enhancing Seed Establishment, Root Development and Crop Yield


The United Nations’ projections show a critical food supply crisis by 2050 that requires a significant increase in food production in order to meet projected global demand. Even now, there are 815 million people, world-wide, that are undernourished.  Agricultural innovations play an important role in combatting the food supply crisis, however, involved and costly regulations, as well as growing opposition, related to GMOs have slowed the adoption of crucial innovations.

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel system for enhancing seedling establishment, root development and crop yield. Using a bacteria-generated volatile organic compound, agriculturally beneficial phenotypes related to plant growth, nutrient acquisition, CO2 fixation and stress response can be triggered. This system induces the same beneficial phenotypes that are also seen in a group of transgenic plants, but without requiring genetic engineering. The volatile organic compound is combined with a slow release system which can be applied through drip irrigation systems and foliar sprays.

Because the crops are not genetically engineered, this system helps to overcome limitations associated with regulations and opposition in the GMO market, while also increasing accessibility for developing countries.

Potential Applications

•       Agriculture

o       Human-targeted food crops

o       Animal feed

o       Medicinal crops

o       Textiles – hemp, cotton, corn, etc.

•       Landscaping

Benefits and Advantages

•       Can be used on any crop or soil system

•       Because it doesn’t involve genetic modification, it may have a less costly and time-consuming introduction to market

•       Accessible for developing countries or struggling industries

•       Increased root and shoot biomass

•       Improved response to drought and/or osmotic stress

•       Overcomes natural resilience of plants and or microbiomes to inocula of specific bacteria strains

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see

Dr. Gaxiola's departmental webpage

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