*** 9626947 Kinnersley This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will expand on the Phase I demonstration that formulations containing 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA) increase plant growth and reduce plants' fertilizer requirements. There are growing concerns with both providing enough food to feed the world's growing population and problems of nitrogen pollution caused by overuse of nitrogen fertilizers. This has created opportunities for products to increase fertilizer efficiency while either maintaining or increasing crop productivity. Auxein Corporation has developed proprietary formulations that have significantly increased production in diverse plants such as turf grass, bush beans and cherries, and reduced the levels of fertilizer needed to give optimal productivity. Mineral analysis of treated plants has shown an increase in the content of the macronutrients needed for plant growth with the most consistent increase shown in tissue potassium content. In treated rye grass and duckweed, levels of potassium increased more than 200 percent. The correlation between GABA-mediated increases in plant growth and increases in tissue potassium content led to a working hypothesis that GABA bioactivity in plants is similar to its mechanism of action in animals, where it is known to affect transport of calcium and potassium. The research objectives of Phase II are designed to develop a product formulation suitable for commercial application and establish the efficacy of the company's formulations in field tests, emphasizing targets crops where both increased yield and quality through improved potassium nutrition would be of benefit. Another objective is to quantify the savings in fertilizer requirements that can be achieved in the field. The results of Phase II research are expected to establish the efficacy of the company's formulations for increasing plant growth and productivity and reducing plants fertilizer requirements, and to demonstrate their commercial utility. The co mpany estimates the total U. S. market opportunity for such products to be approximately $3.0 billion, and its goal is to achieve $200 MM in product sales within five years of product introduction. The product value will be further increased if use results in a mitigation of nitrogen pollution and if GABA functions in plants by increasing mineral availability, thereby improving crop quality. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Bruce K. Hamilton
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Auxein Corporation
United States
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