KSEF RDE: A Sweet BioAg Solution: Sweet Sorghum Bagasse Based Crop Yield Enhancer

Grants and Contracts Details


Lipo-chitooligosaccharide (LCO) is a signal molecule produced by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria for non-legume plants, and it has the ability to induce disease resistance responses in plants. The LCO has a huge market to be used as a crop yield enhancer. The use of bio-derived LCO offers an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution to the synthetic agrochemicals. Currently, synthetic medium is commonly used in submerged fermentation for the production of LCO. However, the high cost associated with the medium and downstream recovery and purification warrants the development of new bioprocesses. Kentucky leads the country in sweet sorghum production; syrup produced here in 2008 was worth over $12 million. The Commonwealth, together with its neighboring states, produces over 90 percent of the total domestic sorghum syrup output. The goal of this work is to explore the use sweet sorghum bagasse, a renewable resource and a waste stream from syrup extraction rich in fiber, soluble sugars and nutrients to produce LCO. The flavonoids in the bagasse can potentially induce the production and increase the yield of LCO. The specific objectives include: 1) using a Box-Behnken central composite design to optimize cultivation temperature, C/N ratio and initial moisture content for microbial growth (Bradyrhizobium japonicum) and LCO production; 2) developing a new formulation approach using directly palletization of post-fermentation slurry with CaCO3 and lignin to form a stable and transportable product; 3) investigating the effectiveness of the formulated product using genomic and molecular approaches and/or direct application on tomato plant in green house. This study will demonstrate the potential of using sweet sorghum bagasse to produce high value commodity and provide new insights on the symbiotic plant-microbe interactions. The success of this project will also open avenues for using cheap renewable resources for other BioAg applications such as probiotics and biocontrol agents.
Effective start/end date7/1/1712/31/18


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $50,000.00


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