GreenTap - A Method for Stimulating Production and Extraction of Metabolites in Plants

  • Yeda
  • From Israel
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

Numerous plant-originated compounds with unique properties are widely used for diverse applications in the drugs, food, and cosmetics industries. Chemical synthesis of these compounds is not feasible due to their complexity, and harvesting said compounds from plants can be extremely challenging and inefficient. The lab of Prof. Asaph Aharoni has developed a method for simple extraction of plant metabolites, which does not damage the plant or interferes with the formation of these compounds. The system can be used to induce and extract plant metabolites as well as to identify novel plant metabolites.


Background and Unmet Need

Numerous plant-originated compounds with unique properties are widely used for diverse applications ranging from therapeutics, fungicides, insecticides, natural flavoring, colorants, scents, and natural oils. Chemical synthesis of these compounds is not feasible due to a variety of factors. Harvesting these compounds requires significant amounts of resources and time to grow the plants, resulting in relatively low amounts of the desired compounds per plant. Importantly, 70% of a plant’s root metabolites are exuded into the soil, making them difficult to collect.
Systems such as hydroponics and aeroponics are simpler to extract from, however, features of the soil such as phytohormones and the microbiome have an important effect on plant metabolism and exudate formation.
Therefore, methods for simple extraction of plant metabolites, which do not hamper the formation of these compounds or damage the plant, are needed.

The Solution

The group of Prof. Asaph Aharoni has developed a method of inducing metabolite production in plants and efficiently extracting them.

Technology Essence

The method devised by Prof. Aharoni and his team consists of splitting a plant’s root into two moieties, one in grown is soil and the other in a separate hydroponic or aeroponic container. Each root is then applied with a stimulant (e.g. a microbe, fungus, insect, pre-defined chemicals, etc.). Alternatively, the plant can be administered with a stimulant, depending on the type of stimulant used and/or expected exudate. Each container can be equipped with a sensor that tracks growth conditions and the exudate of interest. Finally, the container is fitted with an absorbent designed to capture the specific exudate or extract of interest.

Advantages and Applications

  • A method for increasing production of plant bioactive metabolites
  • A method for identifying novel plant metabolites
  • The system can be continuously optimized

Development Status

The system has been tested with numerous plant species to produce and collect a number of metabolites, including alkaloids in tomato plants, taxol and other taxanes in Taxus baccata, and vinca alkaloids in Catharanthus roseus.

Intellectual property status

  • Granted Patent
  • Patent application number :USA Published: Publication Number: US 2021-0007363 A1

Related Keywords

  • Agriculture and Marine Resources
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture Machinery / Technology
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Sustainability
  • Agricultural genetic engineering applications
  • Other
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Animal Husbandry and Related Products

About Yeda

Yeda ("Knowledge" in Hebrew) Research and Development Company Ltd. is the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) and is the second company of its kind established in the world.

WIS is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary basic research institutions in the natural and exact sciences. It is located in Rehovot, Israel, just south of Tel Aviv. It was initially established as the Daniel Sieff Institute in 1934, by Israel and Rebecca Sieff of London in memory of their son Daniel. In 1949, it was renamed for Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel and Founder of the Institute.

Yeda initiates and promotes the transfer to the global marketplace of research findings and innovative technologies developed by WIS scientists. Yeda holds an exclusive agreement with WIS to market and commercialize its intellectual property and generate income to support further research and education.

Since 1959 Yeda has generated the highest income per researcher compared to any other TTO worldwide. Weizmann has generated a number of groundbreaking therapies, such as Copaxone, Rebif, Tookad, Erbitux, Vectibix, Protrazza, Humira, and recently the CAR-T cancer therapy Yescarta.

Yeda performs the following activities:

◣ Identifies and assesses research projects with commercial potential.
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