spk seeds

LEAFY COTYLEDON1 (LEC1), a NUCLEAR FACTOR-Y (NF-Y) family member, plays a critical role in embryogenesis and seed development in Arabidopsis. Previous studies have shown that rice OsNF-YB9 and OsNF-YB7 are homologous to Arabidopsis LEC1. However, the functions of LEC1-like genes in rice remain unclear. Here we report that OsNF-YB9 and OsNF-YB7 display sub-functionalization in rice. We demonstrate that OsNF-YB7 is expressed mainly in the embryo, whereas OsNF-YB9 is preferentially expressed in the developing endosperm. Heterologous expression of either OsNF-YB9 or OsNF-YB7 in Arabidopsis lec1-1 was able to complement the lec1-1 defects. We failed to generate osnf-yb7 homozygous mutants due to lethality caused by OsNF-YB7 defects. Loss of OsNF-YB9 function caused abnormal seed development: seeds were longer, narrower and thinner and exhibited a higher chalkiness ratio. Furthermore, the expression of genes related to starch synthesis was deregulated in osnf-yb9. OsNF-YB9 could interact with SPK, a sucrose synthase protein kinase that is predominantly expressed in rice endosperm. Knockout of SPK resulted in chalky seeds similar to those observed in the osnf-yb9 mutants. Ectopic expression of OsNF-YB9 in both rice and Arabidopsis resulted in unhealthy plants with small seeds. Taken together, these results suggest a critical role for OsNF-YB9 in rice seed development.

Keywords: OsNF-YB9; chalkiness; endosperm; rice; seed size.

Spk seeds

Energy farming

With an area of about 3 billion hectare Africa is the second largest continent. About 41% of that area, some 1.2 billion ha are arable land. To blend the civial aviation industies kerosene demand with 10% Jatropha bio-kerosene, only 6% of that arable land need to be cropped with Jatropha. A 10% blend would strongly contribute to IATAs (International Air Transport Association) aims to reduce carbondioxide emissions by 50% till 2050.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is aiming on reducing the carbondioxide emissions of the aviation industry by 50% till 2050. Technical, operational and infrastructural measures are part of the strategy to reach this ambitious goal. Also the use of aviation biofuel plays a mayor role in achieving the 2050 goal, states IATA.

This is a great chance for rural areas to increase the level of energy self-sufficiency, or a good opportunity for investors to produce energy for the world market in large scale projects. The conversion of Jatropha oil to Bio-SPK (synthetic paraffinic kerosene) or bio-diesel is an especially favourable option for large scale projects.

As an example: To blend the worldwide kerosene demand with 10% bio-kerosene from Jatropha-oil, 6% of Africas arable land (matches 41% of the total land area of the African continent) needs to be cropped with Jatropha. Calculations are based on a yield of 3 tonnes seeds per ha with an oil content of 33% (extraction efficacy of 85%) and an oil to bio-kerosene conversion ratio of 40%.

Jatropha has the potential to contribute to reaching this aim. As an oil crop preferably growing in the (sub) tropics where huge lands are “not in use”, large scale cropping is both feasible and economically viable.

Even Europe’s leading airline, Lufthansa Group, is engaged in biofuel-projects. To read more about it, click the link below:

Picture: Lufthansa

These cultivars offer the ideal preconditions for an economic and sustainable production of biofuels. High oil yield and favourable fatty acid composition make Green F uels a perfect raw material for conversion to bio-diesel or bio-kerosene. Even the use of pure Jatropha oil as a diesel substitute is possible.