Spraying for Yield (Super FoF)

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Spraying for Yield (Super FoF)

Research over 18 years has shown that T6P synthesised in the low flux disaccharide trehalose pathway, is a sucrose signal, and part of a central mechanism that regulates sucrose use and allocation, underpinning source-sink interactions in crops (Paul et al. 2017). Previous research funded by BBSRC responsive mode (BB/C51257X/1) showed that T6P inhibits the energy sensor protein kinase, SnRK1 (Zhang et al. 2009). Through SnRK1, T6P alters metabolic programming from "feast" when T6P and hence sucrose are abundant, to "famine" when T6P and sucrose are in low supply. This means that "feast" processes such as starch biosynthesis involved in yield formation are stimulated by T6P and are thus targets for yield improvement. Our collaborative Rothamsted-Oxford work in this area has pioneered a conceptually innovative strategy of 'signalling precursors' of T6P used to directly manipulate T6P content in crops exploiting novel, controllable, dosable light-cleavable agrochemicals that increase starch synthesis in wheat grain, thus increasing starch content, grain size and yield (Griffiths et al. 2016). This joint work was funded through the BBSRC SCIBS (BB/D006112/1). T6P is plant impermeable; however, the creation of a precursor enables tuning of uptake, and subsequent controlled release of T6P using UV-light-mediated in planta bond-cleavage (sunlight or bright light, Figure 1). Our proposed follow-on project consists of two work packages (WPs) designed to move the T6P chemical enhancement product closer to market to achieve broad agricultural impact. WP1: Scale up synthesis of DMNB-T6P precursor. The focus of the FoF development programme will be to design, scope and optimize scaled routes with an emphasis on ready production and translational potential to larger scale (100g to kg) suitable for commercial development under GLP. WP2: Demonstrate field efficacy of the T6P product for winter wheat at (a) Rothamsted sites in the UK, including Harpenden and Broom's Barn, and (b) sites in Australia and Argentina.

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