NTU Singapore researchers develop way to boost oil seed yield by up to 15%

April 23, 2019 |

In Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15 per cent in laboratory conditions.

The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which are in a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to see increasing global demand. The research team genetically modified a key protein in plants which regulates the amount of oil they produce. This results in larger oil reserves in the seed that primarily serves as an energy source for germination.

The team’s patent-pending method involves modifying the key protein known as “Wrinkled1” or “WRI1,” which regulates plants’ oil production. After modification, the seeds have a wrinkled appearance, which is the basis for its scientific codename. In the lab, these modified seeds have successfully displayed seed oil increase that is able to produce up to 15 per cent more natural oils. The research findings were published in the scientific journal Plant Signaling & Behavior.

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