General Lab Information

Technologies Available for License

2014-029: Engineering oil production in vegetative tissues of plant

Invention: 2014-041

Patent Status: U.S. Patent Number 9,593,344 was issued on March 14, 2017

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Even though most plant cells have the capacity to synthesize triacylglycerols (TAGs), they do not accumulate significant amount of oil. This is due to the rapid turnover of the plant vegetative tissue and the accompanying use of fatty acids for membrane construction, thereby limiting the synthesis of TAGs. The technology described below blocks TAG turnover and increases fatty acid synthesis to enhance TAG accumulation in vegetative tissues of plants.


Describes genetically engineered plants belonging to Arabidopsis thaliana, Beta vulgaris, Brassica napus, miscanthus, camellina, switchgrass, corn, sugarcane, sorghum, Sacharum spontaneum, soybean, sunflower, cotton, or duckweeds with five percent or more of dry weight triacylglycerol (TAG) compounds. In the altered plants the gene encoding a trigalactosyldiacylglycerol (TGD) protein is mutated and either a gene encoding a sugar dependent 1 (SDP1) triacylglycerol lipase is mutated or a gene encoding a peroxisomal transporter 1 (PXA1) protein is mutated, or both. The mutations significantly inactivate the proteins mutated.


Triacylglycerols (TAGs) have twice the energy content of carbohydrates and proteins, therefore, increasing oil accumulation in vegetative tissues would enhance the energy density and nutritional value of biomass, and could have a major positive impact on the use of biomass as feed and for the production of biofuel and bioelectricity.

Applications and Industries

This genetic approach can be used in crops to greatly enhance the nutritional value of the vegetative tissues and to potentially expand the production of plant oils and industrial chemicals.

Journal Publication & Intellectual Property