AFINGEN received $125k Phase I grant from NASA STTR FY2017 Program for Efficient Crop Nutrient Recycling System Development
June 9, 2017
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs merge the overarching potential of small firms with the legendary intellect of NASA. These partnerships spur a kind of innovation that not only propels technology into the future, but most importantly, into the nation. By providing opportunities for small businesses and research institutions to partner with NASA, we bring conceptualization to realization.
Among a suite of synthetic biology methods, Afingen's APFL technology offers a robust path to produce high-value biochemicals from inedible biomass-derived substrates with minimal cis-genetic manipulation and improved genetic stability compared to conventional bio-engineering. By amplifying and/or reducing target compounds with unprecedented specificity and improved tolerance, engineered food-, feed-, and biofuel crops (e.g. switchgrass, wheat, canola, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, tomato, potato) may offer higher yields of biomass and enhance degradation in the inedible biomass to facilitate nutrient recycling. This STTR Phase I application by Afingen, Inc. and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is aimed at generating significantly improved rotation crops, wheat and canola, with a combination of three beneficial traits:  accelerated rooting growth,  increased grain yield and vegetative biomass, and  enhanced degradability of inedible biomass.