The research group of Professor Yuichi Fujita of the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University succeeded in working nitrogen-fixing enzymes in photosynthetic organisms for the first time.

 Nitrogen is listed as the first of the three elements of fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potassium) and is an essential element for obtaining high yields in the cultivation of crops.Currently, most nitrogen fertilizers are made by industrial nitrogen fixation.Nitrogen fixation is the process of converting nitrogen molecules contained in air into ammonia, which many organisms nourish.However, some microorganisms have the ability to convert nitrogen in the air into fertilizer components using an enzyme called nitrogenase.If crops (plants) can also make nitrogenase, the crops themselves may be able to make air fertilizer from the air.

 In previous studies, the research group found genes required for nitrogen fixation in cyanobacteria capable of nitrogen fixation, and also found a protein that commands the production of nitrogenase.Therefore, this time, we introduced nitrogen-fixing enzyme and 26 related genes into cyanobacteria that do not fix nitrogen, and succeeded in making nitrogen-fixing enzyme work in photosynthetic organisms for the first time.

 This result is expected to be useful for the introduction of nitrogen-fixing enzymes into plants, and is expected to be a major step toward the realization of "using nitrogen in the air as fertilizer" agriculture that does not require fertilizer.

Paper information:[Scientific Reports] Functional expression of an oxygen-sensitive nitrogenase in an oxygenic photosynthetic organism

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