Location: Crop Improvement & Utilization Research
Project Number: 5325-21410-020-00
Start Date: Oct 01, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2015
Improvements in natural rubber yield will be sought through genetic manipulation of guayule and Russian dandelion plants. The biosynthesis of ricinoleate in Lesquerella will be metabolically engineered. Transformation methods will be developed and optimized; efficacious high expression and tissue-specific promoters will be identified. Genetically altered lines will be phenotypically characterized for alterations in enzymatic activity and production of target metabolites. Promising lines will be tested in controlled environment greenhouse and/or field trials on site or at collaborator locations. Improved germplasm will also be developed/identified through characterization of NPGS castor and Russian dandelion lines. Mutagenesis will be used to develop high yield, low toxin and allergen castor lines. More specific knowledge of the biosynthetic pathways for production of natural rubber and hydroxy fatty acids will be achieved through physiological, cell biology, and biochemical studies. Knowledge of the detailed physical and chemical characteristics of natural rubber from alternative crops will be developed to elucidate the mechanisms for differences from incumbent materials and to provide strategies for technological equivalence. The processing of castor seed meal by bioconversion to reduce toxin and allergen content of byproducts will be researched.