Doubling of crop yield through permutation of metabolic pathways


Hunger and food insecurity can be minimized by doubling crop yield without increasing cultivated land area and fertilizer applied. Since plant breeding has not genetically doubled photosynthesis per unit leaf area, an approach for doubling crop yield would be through a biotechnology that reprograms metabolic pathways in favor of photosynthesis. The anchor of this biotechnology is glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) including the RNAs it synthesizes. Peanut was treated with stoichiometric combinations of mineral salt solutions to synchronize the GDH subunit polypeptides. Matured seeds were analyzed for fats by HPLC; the RNA biosynthetic activity of GDH, and mRNAs encoding yield-specific enzymes by Northern hybridization. In the PK-treated peanut, the GDH-synthesized RNAs silenced the mRNAs encoding granule-bound starch synthase, phosphoglucomutase (glycolysis), glucosyltransferase (cellulose biosynthesis), and nitrate reductase leaving unaffected the mRNAs encoding acetylcoenzyme A carboxylase (fatty acid biosynthesis), phosphate translocator, and NADH-glutamate synthase resulting to double seed (4342 kg/ha), cellulose (1829 kg/ha), and fat (1381 kg/ha) yields compared with the controls. Down-regulation of phosphate translocator and acetylcoenzyme A carboxylase caused decreased pod yields. GDH-synthesized RNAs that were homologous to yield-specific mRNAs shared extensive plus/plus and plus/minus sequence similarities, and they reprogrammed metabolism by permuting the partially down-regulated, not down-regulated, and down-regulated yield-specific pathways. Control peanut produced 70, NPKS-treated produced 420, NS-treated produced 1680, and PK-treated produced 280 probable rearrangements of the pathways. Therefore, down-regulation of metabolic reactions followed by permutation of yield-related pathways, and redistribution of metabolite load to molecularly connected pathways controls crop yield. Operating as efficient bioreactor, peanut can be maximized to 10000 kg pod/ha, more than enough vegetable oil for nine billion people.

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Osuji, G. , Brown, T. , South, S. , Duncan, J. and Johnson, D. (2011) Doubling of crop yield through permutation of metabolic pathways. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 2, 364-379. doi: 10.4236/abb.2011.25054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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