Plant Biology and Agricultural Research at the NMC is supported by internationally recognized expertise in genome research, microbiology, immunology, structural biology, bioinformatics, and modeling, and brings together scientists from across the world to collaborate on global challenges. NMC’s Biological Laboratory provides state of the art facilities to researchers from the NMC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, universities, and industry. The Laboratory includes a 12,000 square foot general use wet laboratory facilities, specialized laboratories, and a 4,000 square foot research greenhouse. This combination of capabilities and facilities enables scientists at the NMC to carry out forefront basic research on the role of immune systems in countering major pathogen threats. Plant Biology and Agricultural research at the NMC includes these projects:
Developing an Infrastructure and Product Test Pipeline to Deliver Novel Therapies for Citrus Greening Disease
Goutam Gupta, NMC Senior Researcher
Supratim Basu, NMC Researcher
U.S. Citrus growers have a critical need for grove-deployable management practices that keep healthy citrus from becoming infected and infected trees from becoming symptomatic. This project presents a systems-based pipeline approach delivering commercial, grove-deployable solutions using a novel therapeutic delivery strategy and citrus transgenics. This research is focused on obtaining practical solutions to the Citrus Health Research Program by analyzing the current status of research, important technology gaps, and grower needs.
Development of a Genetic Transformation System for Biosynthesis of Guar Gum in Prairie Cordgrass
Shawn Starkenburg, LANL
The goal of the project is to test the feasibility of creating a genetic transformation system for prairie cordgrass, a candidate feedstock plant for the production of biofuels and/or commodity chemicals. Through this project we will draft the genome of Spartina pectinatus (prairie cordgrass), identify relevant promoters/terminators to facilitate expression of transgenes, and test common protocols that enable plant regeneration. If successful, we will attempt to express colormetric reporter genes in Spartina to verify and validate stable transformation.
Effects of Spectral Downshifting Photoluminescent Quantum Dot Films on the Growth of Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Principle investigators: Dr. Matt Bergren, UbiQD and Dr. Damon Hebert, UbiQD
UbiQD has developed spectral downshifting photoluminescent quantum dot films made specifically for the greenhouse agricultural industry. At NMC, we are testing their effects on tomatoes and cucumbers, both in germination/early growth and in fruit production stages. Our films absorb UV and blue portions of the solar spectrum and downshift this light by emitting in the region of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), leading to improved spectral quality for plant growth. We are also testing light absorbing devices made from quantum dots that bring upper canopy light to the mid-canopy using optical fibers.