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Drought and salt tolerant plants

Organization name

PROvendis GmbH



The two major abiotic stresses for plants are drought and salt stress accounting for more than 50 % of yield loss in major crop. Suberin is a hydrophobic biopolymer that is deposited in the cell wall of specific root tissues in plants. Due to its hydrophobic properties it is an important barrier that prevents the plants from water loss and enables them to minimize salt intake.

The aromatic domain of suberin can be modulated by ferulate 5-hydroxylase. Tissue-specific overexpression of this endogenous enzyme shifts the composition of the aromatic component. Owing to a promoter that is active in endodermis cells, the ferulate 5-hydroxylase overexpression results in an increased total amount of suberin in roots. As a consequence, the barrier function of suberin in plant roots is improved.

The invention has been successfully tested in Arabidopsis thaliana, but a broad applicability across different species is expected.

Commercial Opportunities

The present invention provides plants that feature an improved drought and salt stress tolerance. On behalf of the University of Bonn, PROvendis offers access to rights for commercial use as well as the opportunity for further co-development.

Current Status

A European priority application has been filed.

Further Reading

Baxter, I et al (2009) Root suberin forms an extracellular barrier that affects water relations and mineral nutrition in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genet. 5(5):e1000492

Competitive Advantages

  • Drought and salt stress tolerance conferred by overexpression of an endogenous enzyme
  • Well understood mode of action

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