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Palmerston North, New Zealand

Glare T.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Caradus J.,Grasslanz Technology Ltd | Gelernter W.,Pace Consultants | Jackson T.,Agresearch Ltd. | And 5 more authors.
Trends in Biotechnology

Biopesticides based on living microbes and their bioactive compounds have been researched and promoted as replacements for synthetic pesticides for many years. However, lack of efficacy, inconsistent field performance and high cost have generally relegated them to niche products. Recently, technological advances and major changes in the external environment have positively altered the outlook for biopesticides. Significant increases in market penetration have been made, but biopesticides still only make up a small percentage of pest control products. Progress in the areas of activity spectra, delivery options, persistence of effect and implementation have contributed to the increasing use of biopesticides, but technologies that are truly transformational and result in significant uptake are still lacking. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Effendy J.,Massey University | Woodfield D.,Agresearch Ltd. | Caradus J.,Grasslanz Technology Ltd | McManus M.T.,Massey University
Journal of Plant Nutrition

Four breeding lines (BLs) of white clover, which range in terms of their disposition to increase biomass in response to low or high phosphate (P) levels in soil, were evaluated further when grown hydroponically. BL 45 increased both fresh and dry weight in response to P-deprivation, while BL 49 displayed the same significant stimulation in response to sufficient P. However, when compared these lines did not accumulate any significantly higher levels of P, and all four lines showed the same changes to root:shoot ratio in response to P-deprivation, as well as the induction of both soluble and cell-wall-associated acid phosphatase activity. These results confirm that there is no direct relationship between growth (as an increase in biomass) and acid phosphatase activity and further some responses to P-deprivation may be common to all genetic backgrounds suggesting that they are not part of the intricate mechanisms governing these responses. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

Johnson L.J.,Agresearch Ltd. | De Bonth A.C.M.,Agresearch Ltd. | Briggs L.R.,Agresearch Ltd. | Caradus J.R.,Grasslanz Technology Ltd | And 10 more authors.
Fungal Diversity

Epichloae endophytes of family Clavicipitaceae (comprising genera Epichloë and Neotyphodium) are fungal symbionts of Pooideae grasses. The associations formed, range from mutually beneficial to antagonistic and the nature of this relationship is dependent upon the importance of vertical (via host seeds) versus horizontal (ascospore mediated) transmission of the fungus. These endophytes can enhance their hosts' survival through protection fromabiotic and biotic stresses and can thus be utilized in an agricultural context. Animal-safe grass-endophyte associations that confer bio-protective properties for increased pasture persistence and productivity have been developed and commercialized. One of the crucial drivers underpinning the selection of epichloae strains for commercial development is endophyte derived bioactivity. The potential of next generation endophytes is determined by testing a number of attributes such as agronomic fitness, animal and food safety as well as compatibility with host plants of interest. Strategic research supports these activities by focusing on elucidating mechanisms of compatibility between host and fungal symbiont, as well as investigating other molecular drivers of symbiosis such as siderophore mediated iron-uptake, fungal signalling, fungal growth in host plants and fungal secondary metabolism. This review weaves together the different strands of multidisciplinary research aimed at ultimately exploiting epichloae endophytes for increased pasture performance. © Mushroom Research Foundation 2013. Source

Hancock K.,Agresearch Ltd. | Collette V.,Agresearch Ltd. | Chapman E.,Forage Genetics International | Hanson K.,Forage Genetics International | And 3 more authors.
Crop and Pasture Science

Proanthocyanidins (PAs) are polymeric flavonoids derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway, and they bind reversibly to forage proteins within the rumen, providing protection from bloat while enhancing protein utilisation and animal production. The occurrence of PAs varies greatly within forage legume species. Foliar PAs are present in Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil) and Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin), but such species often show poor persistence under grazing. By contrast, Trifolium repens (white clover) and Medicago sativa (lucerne, or alfalfa) have good persistence but negligible amounts of foliar PAs. We altered the accumulation patterns present in lucerne and white clover by the overexpression of an R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TaMYB14) isolated from T. arvense (rabbit's foot clover), a species with significant levels of leaf PA. Such plants effectively produced PAs of high degree of polymerisation (DP) in leaf tissue by upregulating genes of the PA pathway. By comparing transcriptome pools, we identified additional MYB transcription factors with putative involvement in PA synthesis in white clover and T. arvense, indicating that these species share a complex PA regulation system. Progress towards producing commercial cultivars of lucerne and white clover containing effective levels of PAs has begun. Such plants will provide a viable option for mitigating bloat in pastoral agriculture-based farming systems. © 2014 CSIRO. Source

Grasslanz Technology Ltd | Date: 2011-09-02

The invention provides a novel MYB class transcription factor gene (nucleic acid sequences, protein sequences, and variants and fragments thereof) designated MYB14 by the applicants, that is useful for manipulating the production of flavonoids, specifically condensed tannins, in plants. The invention provides the isolated nucleic acid molecules encoding proteins with at least 70% identity to any one of MYB14 polypeptide sequences of SEQ ID NO: 14 and 46 to 54. The invention also provides, constructs, vectors, host cells, plant cells and plants genetically modified to contain the polynucleotide. The invention also provides methods for producing plants with altered flavonoid, specifically condensed tannin production, making use of the MYB14 nucleic acid molecules of the invention.

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