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Engineering cereal crops that are self-supported by nitrogen fixation has been a dream since the 1970s when nitrogenase was transferred from Klebsiella pneumoniae to Escherichia coli. A renewed interest in this area has generated several new approaches with the common aim of transferring nitrogen fixation to cereal crops. Advances in synthetic biology have afforded the tools to rationally engineer microorganisms with traits of interest. Nitrogenase biosynthesis has been a recent target for the application of new synthetic engineering tools. Early successes in this area suggest that the transfer of nitrogenase and other supporting traits to microorganisms that already closely associate with cereal crops is a logical approach to deliver nitrogen to cereal crops.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Biotechnol

Publication Date





216 - 222


Crops, Agricultural, Edible Grain, Genetic Loci, Nitrogen, Nitrogen Fixation, Synthetic Biology