Intrexon Proposes 'Controlled Flowering' to Boost Yields

July 26, 2016 01:32 PM
 
Intrexon Proposes 'Controlled Flowering' to Boost Yields

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell your crops when to flower? Let them get to the perfect size and weather conditions, then turn on the reproductive system to get what you hope are your best yields ever. Intrexon Corporation hopes to fill that desire with Florian technology, an “on-off” switch for crops, currently in early stages of development.

“Controlled flowering has the potential to achieve dramatic increases in yield and vigor,” says Sekhar Boddupalli, head of the AgBio Division at Intrexon, who says Florian can also improve crop quality and decrease costs.

The switch would allow Intrexon to regulate flowering timing and activate specific plant genes with a topical activator. By prolonging the vegetative stage, crops will form more biomass. For forage crops, this could translate to more yield. The overall impact of flowering timing on yield varies would by crop type, according to Boddupalli.

Boddupalli says Florian could be used in the following applications:

  • Increase biomass production in forage crops by prolonging vegetative state
  • Improve crop yield and quality, in conjunction with lower cost profile, for select fruits and vegetables

  • Give on-demand resistance for environmental and biological stressors such as drought, pests and disease
  • Allow precise control of flowering in high-value fruit and produce to aid in harvest timing (e.g. 
strawberries, pineapples, apples)
  • Provide flexibility to florists to control flowering on-site based on demand, thereby increasing productivity and lowering waste commonplace in the industry
  • Tune consumer-appealing traits such as color and aroma in fruits and flowers
  • Enhance plant-based production of high-value active pharmaceutical ingredients
  • Create more efficient and effective commercial seed production

This technology has yet to undergo regulatory review and is not commercially available at this time. Currently, however, the company does not have a specific date for commercialization.

“The timing for bringing product to market based on this technology will depend on identifying and establishing [agribusiness] partnerships,” Boddupalli says.

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