A Vernonia Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase Can Increase Renewable Oil Production

Tomoko Hatanaka, William Serson, Runzhi Li, Paul Armstrong, Keshun Yu, Todd Pfeiffer, Xi Le Li, David Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Increasing the production of plant oils such as soybean oil as a renewable resource for food and fuel is valuable. Successful breeding for higher oil levels in soybean, however, usually results in reduced protein, a second valuable seed component. This study shows that by manipulating a highly active acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) the hydrocarbon flux to oil in oilseeds can be increased without reducing the protein component. Compared to other plant DGATs, a DGAT from Vernonia galamensis (VgDGAT1A) produces much higher oil synthesis and accumulation activity in yeast, insect cells, and soybean. Soybean lines expressing VgDGAT1A show a 4% increase in oil content without reductions in seed protein contents or yield per unit land area. Incorporation of this trait into 50% of soybeans worldwide could result in an increase of 850 million kg oil/year without new land use or inputs and be worth ∼U.S.$1 billion/year at 2012 production and market prices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7188-7194
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 28 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • Glycine max
  • Vernonia galamensis
  • diacylglycerol acyltransferase
  • lipids
  • oilseeds
  • triacylglycerol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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