Ag Biotechnology - Life Sciences - University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization Found 23 technologies en-US http://license.umn.edu/categories/1181_life-sciences/1245_ag-biotechnology?limit=50&offset=0&query= technology_15140 Eliminate odor, reduce phosphorus and pathogens from swine manure 20100165 - Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed an environmentally sound, easy-to-implement method to process swine manure. Through hydrothermal carbonization, this technology can Treatment of manure using this method results in solid, hydrochar with no offensive odor that can be easily filtered out from liquid filtrate. As 80% of the phosphorus present in the manure is retained in the solid hydrochar, it can be further treated to extract phosphorus for use as fertilizer. With a low phosphorus content, the liquid portion can be used as fertilizer for crops without overloading the soil with phosphorus or for production of biogas using anaerobic digestion. Proof of concept in lab. Pilot scale testing can be done at University facility. This technology is now available for license! The University is excited to partner with industry to see this innovation reach its potential. Please contact Larry Micek to share your business’ needs and your licensing interests in this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents. Mon, 30 Sep 2019 20:54:48 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20100165_eliminate-odor-reduce-phosphorus-and-pathogens-from-swine-manure technology_15138 Engineered enzymes to disrupt and prevent biofilms 20160278b - Bacterial biofilms are significant health challenges. It is estimated that 80% of all microbial infections and 60% of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in humans are caused by biofilms. The societal costs of HAIs are estimated at between $96 to $147 billion annually. Biofilms are characteristically slimy collections of bacteria surrounded by a matrix of DNA, proteins and polysaccharides that can adhere to and grow on a variety of surfaces. Because of the pervasive nature of bacteria, biofilms are incredibly common and can form on substrates, ranging from structural materials to living tissue. As sources of contamination, infection and biocorrosion, biofilms cause of an astounding array of problems, including: food contamination and rot, contamination of medical devices and a wide variety of human and animal infections. Biofilms are inherently resistant to antimicrobial agents and their physically sticky nature makes them challenging to treat and dislodge. A key step in the formation of many biofilms is bacterial communication through molecules known as quorum signals. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have engineered enzymes to break down quorum sensing molecules as a novel way to inhibit bacterial communication and disrupt or prevent biofilm formation. Bacterial communication is vital for the formation of biofilms and interfering with this communication may mitigate against biofilm formation. Bacteria often secrete acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs), a molecule required for quorum sensing and biofilm formation. AHLs are degraded by the enzyme lactonase. University of Minnesota researchers have engineered lactonases in order to maximize enzyme stability and activity against a wide variety of lactones. These enzymes are capable of disrupting bacterial communication and preventing biofilm formation. The improved solubility, stability and longevity profile of these enzymes makes them ideal anti-infectives. Specifically, they can be incorporated in a variety of solvents or coatings, thus rendering them readily deployable on most surfaces. Significant human and veterinary medicine applications are possible where biofilm control is critical, for example biofilms associated with cystic fibrosis, bacterial endocarditis and urinary tract infections. To learn more about applications in material and biological sciences, read our complementary postings, 2016027a and 20160278c. Proof of concept. Experiments have shown that the enzymes can be added to a coating on steel, retain activity and successfully prevent biofilm-mediated biocorrosion. This technology is now available for license! The university is excited to partner with industry to see this innovation reach its potential. Please contact Kenneth Karanja to share your business’ needs and your licensing interests in this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents. Mon, 30 Sep 2019 17:37:17 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20160278b_engineered-enzymes-to-disrupt-and-prevent-biofilms technology_15120 Delivery of developmental regulators to whole plants for the induction of genetically altered meristematic tissue 20180381 - The ability to genetically alter plants to add desirable traits or relevant resistances is an incredibly powerful tool in commercial agriculture and basic research. However, the process for doing so is both lengthy and technically challenging. Current protocols use sterile tissue culture of plant cells, which is not possible in many plant species and calls for technical expertise and instrumentation. Plant cells that are successfully altered must be grown for months to form a new, mature plant and obtain seed for subsequent planting. New work coming out of the Voytas lab at the University of Minnesota has created a method to bypass these limitations. The lab induced novel meristems (plant stem cells) on existing plants in the presence of gene editing reagents, resulting in the formation of genetically altered shoots. By allowing these shoots to mature to seed, it’s possible to harvest seed months faster than current methods without needing tissue culture. This technology is the combination of three innovations: (1) the identification of developmental regulator combinations that induce shoot meristem formation, (2) a method for delivery of regulators to whole plants and (3) a strategy for co-delivery of regulators and gene editing reagents in a transient expression system. Different combinations of developmental regulators (i.e. WUS, STM, MPΔ), produced growths/plantlets in species where it has been challenging, including agriculturally relevant crops. Two unique methods for the delivery of regulators to plants were developed, AgroBest treatment of seedlings and direct injection into trimmed plants, the latter of which does not require sterile tissue culture. The availability of these two methods provides flexibility and optimization for varying situations. Bringing this technology one step further, the researchers devised a transient expression system to simultaneously introduce the genome editing tools and the developmental regulators. Using a non-integrating vector makes it possible to create plants that are gene-edited but not transgenic, relieving regulatory burdens for commercial crops and increasing customer adoption. Compared to the current methods of genetically engineering plants and harvesting seed, this approach is faster, simpler, and increases the number of species it’s possible to modify. This technology is now available for license! The university is excited to partner with industry to see this innovation reach its potential. Please contact BJ Haun to share your business’ needs and your licensing interests in this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 17:19:59 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20180381_delivery-of-developmental-regulators-to-whole-plants-for-the-induction-of-genetically-altered-meristematic-tissue technology_15084 Plant Biometric Estimation Using 3D Models 20180266 - This technology is a new device and method for autonomously estimating a variety of crop biometrics using ordinary, two-dimensional images of the field. First, the system creates a three-dimensional (3D) model of the crop using images captured by an unmanned vehicle. Next, the locations and orientations of leaves and stems of individual plants are autonomously defined by the system. Using this information, the system can estimate crop biometrics, including: Early detection of crop deficiencies, and periodic evaluation of the status of growth is critical for managing healthy crops and maximizing the yield. Plant biometrics information is routinely used for assessing crop health and growth status. However, obtaining this information often requires destruction of the crops being analyzed. On the other hand, nondestructive techniques tend to be labor intensive and lack resolution and accuracy. Alternatively, detailed 3D models of the crops created using high-resolution images obtained from an unmanned vehicle can be used. Recently, researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a system to autonomously construct a detailed 3D model of the crops using ordinary, RGB images. The system is also capable of processing the 3D model to estimate a variety of useful plant biometric data, made readily available to the farmers. This new biometrics detection method helps farmers better understand the needs of not only the entire farm, but also of individual plants. Such high accuracy biometrics data enables farmers to quickly identify nutrition requirements and steer potential treatment decisions directed towards a small area to an entire farm. Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:07:46 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20180266_plant-biometric-estimation-using-3d-models technology_15010 Multiplex Plant Gene Targeting through Homologous Recombination 20160266 - This new method uses homologous recombination to achieve first-ever multiplexed gene targeting in plants. The novel approach uses a geminivirus replicon to overcome traditional gene targeting challenges for plant genome engineering. The technology efficiently achieves multiplexed gene targeting by integrating a selective marker into one of the loci to regenerate plants with modifications in other loci at a high frequency. Modified wheat plants in experiments were regenerated in less than six weeks and showed a promising multiplexed gene targeting frequency of 1.1% (e.g., 13.75% of the cells that underwent gene targeting contained both modifications). Advantages of multiplex homologous recombination include simultaneous gene edits to confer multiple traits, reduced time to introduce traits into crop plants, and introducing gene edits for academic purposes. Unlike targeted mutagenesis, gene targeting and gene repair in plants is quite difficult. Targeted modification of plant genomes remains a challenge due to ineffective methods for delivering reagents for genome engineering to plant cells. Furthermore, the few reports that describe gene targeting in plants are limited to only one chromosomal target. This method uses geminivirus-based replicons and CRISPR/Cas9 as a delivery method for sequence-specific nucleases (SSNs) and DNA repair templates into plant cells. The technique achieves multiple targeted integration of nucleotide sequences into different loci of the plant genome, as well as into different genomes in polyploid species. This is the first time that homologous recombination at two different loci within the same cell has been demonstrated. Fri, 17 May 2019 20:41:26 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20160266_multiplex-plant-gene-targeting-through-homologous-recombination technology_15009 5’-exonuclease Increases Gene Editing Efficiency of Plants 20160020 - Introducing a T5 bacteriophage 5’-exonuclease simultaneously with traditional gene targeting reagents (i.e., site-specific nucleases such as CRISPR/Cas9 or a TALEN system) can increase the frequency/rate of homologous recombination in gene targeting. This novel eukaryotic (plant) cell gene editing method uses the 5’-exonuclease—applied as a protein or nucleic acid in the presence of a supplied or endogenous repair template—to cause homologous recombination between the chromosomal target broken by the nuclease and the repair template. The technology exploits the natural mechanism of homology search by exposed 3’-ends of broken double-stranded DNA that mediates homologous recombination. The 5’-exonuclease can resect the 5’-ends at the double-stranded break caused by the site-specific nuclease (SSN), potentially increasing the abundance and possibly the size of exposed 3’-ends. 5’-exonuclease is a small protein that can be expressed as a transcript fusion with the nuclease and is easily deliverable by current methods to introduce the other gene targeting reagents. In addition, it is compatible with transient editing strategies using DNA replicons to make the modification and then degrade without integrating unwanted foreign DNA. Low efficiency of gene targeting remains a challenge for genome engineering efforts, particularly in plants. This new method, which adds the 5’-exonuclease to a homologous recombination reaction, demonstrated a threefold increase in efficiency and yield of desired genetically engineered products (e.g., Nicotiana benthamiana and wheat cells), and when combined with geminivirus technology, achieved a 15 to 50 fold increase in gene targeting. By harnessing the natural biology of the cell, this technology does not require exposure to chemicals, small molecules or interfering RNA that could impact cellular processes unrelated to gene targeting. Furthermore, no negative effects are expected on the viability or regenerative capacity of cells exposed to this reagent. Fri, 17 May 2019 20:00:56 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20160020_5-exonuclease-increases-gene-editing-efficiency-of-plants technology_14963 Glyphosate Resistance from Altered EPSPS Plant Genes 20160028 - Novel gene editing techniques can modify plant genes that, when combined with a strong promoter, confer resistance to glyphosate herbicides. The new method modifies class I 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) genes with just two amino acid substitutions that render the plant tolerant to glyphosate-based herbicides. In addition, the technique expresses the altered EPSPS gene using a stronger promoter than that produced by the weaker, native EPSPS gene. This method could also potentially modify other plant genes (i.e., those responsible for environmental resistance or for higher yields). Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and its weed control is one of the biggest advances in modern agriculture. Food crop resistance to glyphosate herbicides is important because it allows for more robust weed control and ensures continued food production. Deregulation, regulatory approval costs and social acceptance pose substantial barriers in developing new herbicide resistant crops, and the existing genetically modified plants are highly controversial and unpopular. This new technology could disrupt modern plant breeding techniques by rendering traditional transgenic gene modification obsolete. While the two mutations edited into the plant’s own EPSPS gene are known to cause a fitness cost, this method replaces the native EPSPS promoter with a much stronger promoter to make up for this deficit. This non-transgenic gene editing method can produce non-GMO glyphosate tolerant plants, likely with lower regulatory costs, faster regulatory approval and possibly increased public acceptance. Thu, 04 Apr 2019 17:52:05 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20160028_glyphosate-resistance-from-altered-epsps-plant-genes technology_14683 HILAGE: Haploid Inducer Line for Accelerated Genome Editing 20150117 - HILAGE (Haploid Inducer Line for Accelerated Genome Editing) allows breeders and researchers to induce a targeted mutation and quickly recover a homozygous mutant plant. The HILAGE technology combines a haploid inducer system with one or more gene-editing events to produce haploid individuals with the desired mutation(s) from a single cross. The method utilizes a plant haploid inducer stock line containing one or more endonucleases to combine haploid induction with targeted DNA double strand breaks engineered by the endonuclease, followed by chromosome doubling. The goal is to generate the haploid inducer line with one or more endonuclease(s) that can induce mutations followed by haploidization. Doubling the chromosome numbers of the resulting haploid individuals yields Doubled Haploids (DH), which are fully inbred lines, homozygous for the mutation(s) and ready for testing and commercialization. The technology is cost-effective and fast (less than 1 year) and reduces cost, time, and operational risks associated with intensive backcrossing. Introducing improved traits (genes) into elite lines of crops is difficult, expensive and time consuming, in part due to the backcrossing process. Currently, targeted mutations are generated in lines that are easily transformed and then backcrossed into elite germplasm. By contrast, this new technology places targeted mutations directly into the elite germplasm. While both double haploidization and targeted gene-editing are already reliable techniques, HILAGE combines these two technologies into a single seamless method. This unique combination represents a fundamental change in how both technologies are used. For example, instead of backcrossing to stack mutation traits together, all targeted mutations can be induced at once, allowing elite lines themselves can be directly mutated. In theory, HILAGE could generate targeted mutations in wheat, oat, maize, barley and other agronomic crops, all without putting a transgene into the host genome. Thu, 08 Nov 2018 20:02:17 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20150117_hilage-haploid-inducer-line-for-accelerated-genome-editing technology_14596 Rationale Design of Inhibitors based on Crystal Structures of ssDNA Bound to APOBEC 20170124 - A new method will help achieve specific DNA editing events with fewer off-target issues by using modified Cas9-APOBEC fusion polypeptides. Crystal structures for ssDNA bound APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B can be used for rational design of inhibitors to impede the evolvability of viruses and tumors and for development of APOBEC-mediated base editing reporter (AMBER) systems. Better tools are needed for DNA editing in vivo. The original APOBEC1-Cas9 base editing complexes have wide “editing windows”, which are nearly as big as the >20 nucleotide single-stranded DNA region displaced by annealing of the guide-RNA that directs the editing complex. The high-resolution structural information for APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B (catalytic domain) enzymes in complex with relevant single-stranded DNA substrates provide atomic-level explanations for their strong specificity for 5’-TC-3’ dinucleotide sequences within longer single-stranded DNA substrates. They also provide strong structural rationale that has already enabled the local specificity of these enzymes to be changed to 5’-CC-3’. Structural information for these extremely efficient enzymes makes it possible to tune the enzyme to preferentially edit 5’-AC-3’ and 5’-GC-3’ dinucleotide targets. Thus, these enzymes expand the DNA editing toolkit to be able to selectively target DNA cytosine bases in any dinucleotide context. In addition, unlike the normal CRISPR system, base editing requires neither double-strand DNA cleavage nor a DNA donor template. APOBEC3A- and APOBEC3B (catalytic domain)-Cas9 base editing complexes may be targeted with an appropriate guide RNA to virtually any DNA target. They may also be used in combination with a fluorescent reporter for DNA editing (i.e., the APOBEC- and Cas9-mediated editing (ACE) reporter system). Tue, 02 Oct 2018 21:43:33 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20170124_rationale-design-of-inhibitors-based-on-crystal-structures-of-ssdna-bound-to-apobec technology_14304 High Ammonia Absorbing Corn Stover Hydrochar for use in Horse Bedding 20180070 - A corn stover-based hydrochar material shows superior ammonia sorption ability under ambient temperature and pressure. The hydrochar is produced by processing corn stover and vegetable oil using hydrothermal carbonization. The resulting product is expected to remediate ammonia generation in horse barns and could therefore have valuable applications as horse bedding. The technology also has potential applications in agricultural farming, industrial systems and waste water treatment facilities as well as applications in playgrounds, stadiums and residential lawns. A variety of conditions cause nuisance ammonia gas, but there are currently no cost effective solutions to remove it from the air. And while various hydrochars from agricultural residues and fermentation residues are effective, they can be expensive and may require severe treatments, increasing safety and environmental issues. This hydrochar, produced from corn stover and corn oils in distiller grain (or any other vegetable oil source), shows promise as a unique and effective low cost ammonia sorbent. The technology uses condensed distillers solubles, a byproduct of corn ethanol fermentation, and corn stover to produce a char with a much higher capacity to absorb ammonia in the gas phase than hydrochar obtained from agricultural residues. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Prototype development Fri, 25 May 2018 16:49:32 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20180070_high-ammonia-absorbing-corn-stover-hydrochar-for-use-in-horse-bedding technology_13384 Real-Time Reporter and Efficient Enzymes for DNA Editing 20170418 - Base editing is an exciting new genome engineering technology. C-to-T mutations in genomic DNA have been achieved using ribonucleoprotein complexes comprised of rat APOBEC1 single-stranded DNA deaminase, Cas9 nickase (Cas9n), uracil DNA glycosylase inhibitor (UGI), and guide (g)RNA. Here, we report the first real-time reporter system for quantification of APOBEC-mediated base editing activity in living mammalian cells. The reporter expresses eGFP constitutively as a marker for transfection or transduction, and editing restores functionality of an upstream mCherry cassette through the simultaneous processing of two gRNA binding regions that each contain an APOBEC-preferred 5'TCA target site. Using this system as both an episomal and a chromosomal editing reporter, we show that human APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B base editing complexes are more efficient than the original rat APOBEC1 construct. We also demonstrate coincident enrichment of editing events at a heterologous chromosomal locus in reporter-edited, mCherry-positive cells. The mCherry reporter also quantifies the double-stranded DNA cleavage activity of Cas9, and may therefore be adaptable for use with many different CRISPR systems. The combination of a rapid, fluorescence-based editing reporter system and more efficient, structurally defined DNA editing enzymes broadens the versatility of the rapidly expanding toolbox of genome editing and engineering technologies. ** View the Term Sheet ** ** Contact Kevin Nickels for specific details. ** Advantages over Current Systems: Applications: Phase of Development: In vitro data/working prototype. Reporter and editing constructs have been built and validated in a range of mammalian cell types. Citation: St. Martin, A., D. Salamango, A.A. Serebrenik, N. Shaban, W.L. Brown, F. Donati, U. Munagala, S.G. Conticello, R.S. Harris (2018) ¬A fluorescent reporter for quantification and enrichment of DNA editing by APOBEC-Cas9 or cleavage by Cas9 in living cells. Nucleic Acids Research, in press. Thu, 03 May 2018 13:29:09 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20170418_real-time-reporter-and-efficient-enzymes-for-dna-editing technology_13185 Agricultural Robot Estimates Perishable Fruit Yields 20150091 - An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system collects high resolution spatio-temporal data to automatically estimate perishable fruit yield parameters (e.g. count, size of fruit, number per tree). The small UAV, built with low-cost, commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software components, carries a computer that collects images from onboard stereo cameras. The robot can obtain good views of the fruit in natural settings (i.e., an orchard row), and computer vision algorithms use the stereo images to detect, segment and estimate the size and count of fruit. The algorithm works with no constraints on illumination, specularity or occlusions, and can also detect tree trunks to offer fruit-per-tree counts. Due to very thin margins, large farms are looking to automation and precision agriculture to increase their yields while decreasing their expenses. Current implementations use ground robots that require controlled lighting conditions and suffer from less accurate color matching algorithms for estimation. This technology leverages off-the-shelf UAV drone technology with a unique algorithm that uses computer vision to detect, segment and estimate the size and count of fruit. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Pilot scale demonstration Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:41:24 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20150091_agricultural-robot-estimates-perishable-fruit-yields technology_13154 3D Plant Reconstruction and Biometric Measurement 20180265-20180266 - An automated methodology provides detailed and reliable information from 3D models of corn canopies. High resolution images of corn stalks are collected and used to obtain 3D models of plants of interest. The 3D model focuses on maize in growth stages where the plants are still susceptible to treatment, and the 3D crop reconstructions provide measurements with a granularity and frequency not previously available to the agriculture community. 3D reconstruction of small batches of corn plants provides an alternative to existing cumbersome biometric estimation methodologies. The methodology estimates biometrics of a group of plants using their 3D models and provides a low-cost, mobile, and easily deployable solution for automated computation of the plant's biometrics. Self-Organized Map (SOM), a computationally efficient algorithm, calculates several biometrics based on extracted 3D point clouds. SOM is an unsupervised algorithm that uses two fully connected layers of a neural network to create a grid that organizes itself to capture the topology of provided data. The SOM algorithm is particularly robust, adapts to data and provides a leaf-like shape. It can estimate biometrics such as Leaf Area Index (LAI), height, and/or number of leaves of each plant. In addition, the same algorithm can be used for biometrics that depend on the 3D points where a leaf and the stem meet (i.e., leaf count, leaf angle with respect to the stem, and inter-nodal distance). Current methods for calculating biomass and measuring biometrics suffer from a number of drawbacks. Planar methods suffer from reduced loss attributed to leaf occlusions, invasive methods for accurate biomass calculation rely on plant deconstruction, and biometrics based on mathematical models and sparse measurements collected randomly throughout the field provide results that reflect only an average of several measurements characterizing a wide area. This new technology uses 3D models to increase accuracy of collected information, and its non-invasive methodology leaves crops intact. For broadleaf plants such as corn, LAI is currently computed either directly or indirectly. Direct methodologies produce accurate results but are time consuming and destructive, while indirect methodologies require human handling, making measurement collecting field prohibitive, costly and inaccurate. Remote sensing offers promising indirect approaches for measuring spatial variability in LAI, and by using detailed 3D models of individual crops, this new approach alleviates many of the current shortcomings. This new technique provides LAI measurements useful for daily updates of crop growth models and enhances the ability to estimate crop nutrient requirements. In addition, the robust SOM algorithm overcomes limitations such as noise, small number of points and sparse reconstruction. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Prototype developed Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:11:00 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20180265-20180266_3d-plant-reconstruction-and-biometric-measurement technology_13076 Biomass Absorbs Phosphates and Phosphate-Containing Herbicide (Organophosphates) 20170174 - A new absorbent technology simultaneously sorbs phosphate and phosphate-containing herbicides and pesticides (organophosphates, such as glyphosate-based herbicides) present in low concentrations typically found in agricultural runoff water. The technology is formed through hydrothermal carbonization of agricultural residues (e.g., corn stover), which results in a biomass-based hydrochar that simultaneously sorbs potassium and glyphosate from water in a single, simultaneous and non-competitive step. Removing herbicides, pesticides and phosphate contamination from water has far reaching environmental and public health applications (i.e., preventing algal blooms in agricultural run-off and preventing toxicity associated with exposure to even low levels of pesticides). Organophosphate herbicides and pesticides can contaminate groundwater and ultimately drinking water even at low concentrations. Phosphorous can migrate to lakes and streams resulting in algal growth and eutrophication. Currently, no commercial product exists to remove glyphosate from agricultural runoff waters. This new absorbent technology simultaneously sorbs phosphate and phosphate-containing herbicides and pesticides present in low concentrations (2ppm and < 1ppm, respectively). Products based on this technology could serve as a filter medium for agricultural run-off water in drain tiles.  BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Working prototype Tue, 06 Mar 2018 16:07:44 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20170174_biomass-absorbs-phosphates-and-phosphate-containing-herbicide-organophosphates technology_12671 Conferring Plant Resistance to Geminiviruses using CRISPR/Cas Systems 20130311 - CRISPR/Cas systems can be used to create geminivirus resistance in plants. Using this genome editing tool, plants are pre-programmed with a Cas endonuclease and small RNA sequence that essentially give them an immune system that targets both conserved and non-conserved nucleotide sequences within the geminivirus genome. The technology can inhibit the geminivirus life cycle in three ways: 1) a Cas endonuclease creates targeted DNA double-strand breaks in the geminivirus genome, 2) nickase versions of Cas create targeted DNA nicks in both strands of the geminivirus genome, 3) a nuclease-dead version of Cas blocks the virus or host proteins from functioning. Additionally, for each approach, multiple regions on one or more Geminiviruses can be targeted simultaneously. By actually destroying the geminivirus DNA, this technique is expected to be highly effective at preventing geminivirus disease. Current approaches to generating geminivirus resistant plants include expressing geminivirus coat proteins, replication genes or antisense RNAs, as well as using defective-interfering replicons. However, such efforts have had limited success. This CRISPR/Cas technology improves upon current methods in several aspects; most importantly, it destroys the geminivirus genome in order to prevent disease. The technology can be multiplexed to target multiple regions of either the same virus or multiple viruses, thus enabling longer-lasting resistance. Furthermore, it can be optimized differently (i.e. as an endonuclease, nickase or a physical blockade) in different plant species. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Proof of Concept Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:44:36 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20130311_conferring-plant-resistance-to-geminiviruses-using-crispr-cas-systems technology_12585 Predicting Crop Yield and Quality Using Canopy Reflectance and LiDAR Sensors 20170017 - A new crop assessment tool leverages canopy reflectance and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors for remotely estimating crop height and predicting yield and quality. A spectrophotometer attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or ground vehicle periodically scans alfalfa in the field and measures canopy reflectance values to predict alfalfa yield and quality, while LiDAR remotely measures crop height and facilitates yield predictions. Multiple linear regression equations predict forage quality parameters such as crude protein and fiber digestibility (primary indicators of hay value). The UAVs or ground vehicles equipped with these sensors travel through the field collecting and mapping data correlated to the current status of the entire crop. The measurements and predictions can help alfalfa farmers: While physical, destructive sampling currently provides the most accurate and consistent indicators of quality, these methods are time consuming, labor intensive, and often do not represent the whole field. New precision agriculture applications use UAVs equipped with GPS technology and sensors/cameras to assess crop health, progress, disease/insect pressure and nutrient deficiencies. However, none of these current methods integrate measurements from LiDAR and spectral reflectance together in one predictive model. This new approach also improves model predictions by combining remotely sensed data with current climate data such as cumulative growing degree units (GDUs), a function of daily high and low temperatures. Another unique aspect of this new technology is that it introduces a simple index using only a few wavebands, while recent publications on using canopy reflectance to predict forage quality rely on an entire range of spectral data with high resolution from very expensive sensors unlikely to result in an economically viable tool. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: US Patent Pending US20180039600 Phase of Development - Prototype developed Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:22:57 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20170017_predicting-crop-yield-and-quality-using-canopy-reflectance-and-lidar-sensors technology_12567 Microbiome Profiling Techninque for Improving Commercial Turkey Production 20140230 - An optimal probiotic formulation fed to turkeys uses the latest microbiome profiling techniques to prevent disease, promote growth and increase feed conversion efficiency. The novel defined microbial community contains probiotic bacterial strains targeted at commercial turkeys, and can be administered as an additive to feed or water. This informed, “rationally designed” approach identifies the best strains for the desired outcome and features novel, turkey-specific bacteria as well as a unique, refined method of systematic application (time-phased and microbe-phased). The poultry industry seeks technologies to increase weight gain, particularly in the absence of routine antibiotic use. While antimicrobial/antibiotic alternatives exist for the broiler chicken industry, they are lacking for the commercial turkey industry. Moreover, many alternatives to antimicrobials target pathogen reduction, not performance. Probiotics offer a viable and natural means to achieve optimized feed efficiency (or feed conversion ratios), but animal microbiomes are often poorly described and understood. This unique panel of turkey gut microbes, when fed to turkeys, will increase weight gain. A thorough, scientific characterization of turkey gut microbiota showed that this set of microorganisms, already found in the gut of healthy turkeys, is superior to other probiotics used in turkeys. Its benefits are likely to be similar in type but of greater magnitude than currently available products. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Proof of Concept: bacterial panels, culturing protocols and animal dosing regimen completed Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:52:28 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20140230_microbiome-profiling-techninque-for-improving-commercial-turkey-production technology_11894 Insulin Producing Cells from Pluripotent Stem Cells 20100245 - A simple, robust and scalable method of directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem (hES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, generates insulin-producing cells in vitro that have reversed diabetes in vivo and in diabetic mice. A simple, broadly applicable four-step process demonstrates that hES and human iPS cells from dermal fibroblast cells generate insulin-producing cells. Insulin expression and secretion was detected from iPS-derived cells in vitro and in vivo by qPCR, and c-peptide release was confirmed by immunostaining. These results suggest that the method is robust enough to work with a range of cell types, meaning that iPS cells derived from diabetic patient somatic cells are not only a potential, but a highly attractive, source of cells for transplantation. The technology may also work using individual donor cell lines, making both autologous and allogeneic transplantation therapies possible. Previous attempts at deriving insulin-secreting cells are not optimal: They are complex, complicated, multiple-step processes involving many added cytokines and growth factors as well as the toxic chemical cyclopamine. These methods also lack significant expansion of cell numbers. Islet replacement therapy is promising but suffers from limited availability of donor tissues. This method requires only four steps, uses a limited number of growth factors, and achieves similar results using a monoclonal antibody instead of toxic chemicals. Furthermore, it achieves expansion of cells during the process. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - In Vivo/animal studies Wed, 23 Aug 2017 18:09:26 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20100245_insulin-producing-cells-from-pluripotent-stem-cells technology_11257 Hydrogen Sulfide Removal by Electrochemical Process 20160286 - An effective and economical electrochemical oxidation process for aqueous and gaseous sulfide removal can remove hydrogen sulfide (HS) directly from aqueous environments. The technology uses an electrode system where anodic oxidation directly or indirectly oxidizes sulfide or scavenges sulfide by anodically generated ferrous. By removing HS directly from both liquid (aqueous) and gas phases, its efficiency and possible applications are increased. The system is very efficient in HS removal and doesn’t interfere with desirable biological processes such as biogas production. Its simple electrode system is easy to install, operate, control and monitor, and doesn’t add chemicals to the media or require additional pretreatment or post-treatment. ** View the Term Sheet ** ** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. ** Hydrogen sulfide present in human and animal waste has strong odors, is corrosive and can be lethal and explosive in high concentrations. It causes problems for industrial hog farms due to EPA and state regulations and when HS concentrations spike, can be life-threatening to farmers and livestock. This new technology has several advantages over current hydrogen sulfide removal technologies used in aqueous systems. For example, most conventional methods work only in the gas phase, while this technology works in aqueous media as well. Existing technologies that do work in aqueous media require intensive chemical and energy inputs, while this process only requires modest electrical energy input. Furthermore, this technology doesn’t require concentrating hydrogen sulfide from the gas phase into an electrolyte and it eliminates using ion-exchange membranes between anodes and cathodes. It does not require forming anodic biofilm and the electrode materials are much less expensive than electrode materials currently used. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Proof of concept Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:38:59 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20160286_hydrogen-sulfide-removal-by-electrochemical-process technology_10389 Phytate Extraction from Corn Ethanol Coproducts 20150123 - An easy, scalable method extracts high yields of purified, marketable phytate from ethanol waste streams. Phytate, a coproduct of ethanol production that is not digestible by many livestock, increases phosphate pollution from livestock waste. The efficient phytate extraction process is selective and improves livestock feed properties of dry distillers grains (DDGS) by removing “antinutrient” phytate from DDGS while retaining free inorganic phosphate, an important nutrient. This simple process can be incorporated into current corn ethanol production processes to extract high-value phytate and use the remaining solids as animal feed ingredients, thereby both reducing pollutants and adding value from previously wasted materials. This method differs from current methods in several ways. First, it obtains higher phytate yield and relies on ion-exchange methods instead of bulk pH modification and solvent extraction. Currently-used phytase enzymes remove phytate from DDGS, adding cost to animal feeds or other DDGS derived products. In addition, by destroying valuable phytate, these enzymes prevent phytate purification and its potential revenue as a high-value chemical. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: APPLICATIONS: Phase of Development - Lab scale demonstration Tue, 03 Jan 2017 19:06:13 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20150123_phytate-extraction-from-corn-ethanol-coproducts technology_9861 Biofertilizer from Genetically-modified Azotobacter vinelandii 20140348 - Genetically modified Azotobacter vinelandii (A. vinelandii) bacteria excrete greater amounts of extracellular nitrogen-containing compounds, such as ammonia or urea, than their wild-type counterparts. Such terminal products could be used effectively as biofertilizers. Unlike many nitrogen-producing bacteria that only function in anaerobic environments, the aerobic properties of A. vinelandii make it an ideal nitrogen-producing biological factory that can support growth of algae or common agricultural crops. The Haber-Bosch industrial process, which produces most current fertilizers, comes with economic and energetic costs that are either significant (for developed countries that can afford to use the process) or prohibitive (for underdeveloped countries where such costs are a barrier). Furthermore, by burning fossil fuels to generate ammonia from molecular nitrogen (N2 gas), the process can account for up to five percent of world natural gas consumption. The in-situ nature of these genetically-modified diazotrophs for biofertilizer production could mitigate transportation costs and environmental impacts related to Haber-Bosch derived fertilizers, and biological assimilation of nutrients and the timed release of nitrogen compounds may address current agricultural residue runoff issues. BENEFITS AND FEATURES OF SAFE AND EFFECTIVE MICROBIAL BIOFERTILIZER: Phase of Development Concept Thu, 07 Jul 2016 19:07:41 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/20140348_biofertilizer-from-genetically-modified-azotobacter-vinelandii technology_3684 Ecdysteroid Biosynthetic Enzyme Inhibitors z01201 - Screening assays have been developed that allow for the discovery and further development of insecticides to reduce the harmful impact of insect pests on crop production. The tests identify agents that target the enzymes involved in ecdysone biosynthesis using the Drosophila P450 enzyme, Shade. By using a product-specific or substrate-specific antibody, it can be determined if candidate inhibitor molecules inhibit enzyme activity. Insect pests negatively affect agricultural production by decreasing the quantity and quality of crop yield. It is possible to control these pests via insecticides that disrupt metabolic functions essential to insect development. Ecdysteroids regulate many cellular processes during arthropod growth. There exists a need to target the systems that produce ecdysteroids in order to inhibit harmful insect growth and maximize crop production. BENEFITS AND FEATURES OF INSECTICIDE TARGETS: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 15:36:30 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/z01201_ecdysteroid-biosynthetic-enzyme-inhibitors technology_3624 Nematode Biocontrol Agent z00030 - A fungal biological control agent has been identified that is effective against multiple nematode species and is an alternative to nematicides. The endoparasitic fungus Hirsutella minnesotensis was discovered to be a parasite of the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). The fungal biocontrol not only works on SCN, but studies on root knot nematode (RKN) populations have demonstrated a 61-98% level of suppression of these damaging nematodes. This biocontrol has the potential for use where pesticides are undesirable or strictly regulated. **View the Term Sheet** **Contact BJ Haun for specific details. SCN and RKN are extremely serious soil-borne pests causing huge losses on US vegetable crops each year. The SCN is known to damage on the order of billions of dollars annually worldwide. Not only do these pests impact the quantity and quality of marketable yields, but they also interact with other plant pathogens to increase the damage caused by other diseases. Because no single control mechanism to manage these pests exists, farmers are forced to employ multiple complex control mechanisms with limited effectiveness. BENEFITS OF NEMATODE BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENT: Mon, 10 Jun 2013 15:23:52 +0000 http://license.umn.edu/technologies/z00030_nematode-biocontrol-agent