Biotech Updates

BNI-enhanced Wheat Research Wins 2021 Cozzarelli Prize by PNAS

April 6, 2022

Photo Source: Science Manga Studio

A study on the development of the first biological nitrification inhibition (BNI)-enhanced wheat has been awarded the 2021 Cozzarelli Prize given by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The study was a joint research collaboration of Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, the University of the Basque Country, and Nihon University.

Wheat farming is a major source of nitrogen pollution worldwide. The speedy formation of soil nitrates leads to nitrogen leakage that disrupts ecosystems and impacts human health. Thus, the researchers conducted the study to pinpoint a region in the chromosome that controls the BNI ability of wheat grass, which is a wild relative of wheat. They also presented the process of developing BNI-enhanced wheat through intergeneric crossing with a high-yielding wheat cultivar. According to the authors, planting BNI-enhanced wheat on a significant portion of the present global wheat area could be a powerful nature-based solution for reducing N fertilizer use and nitrogen losses while maintaining productivity.

PNAS awards the Cozzarelli Prize for the best paper published in the journal that reflects scientific excellence and originality. The BNI-enhanced wheat paper won the award under the Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences category.

Read the news release about the award from CIMMYT. The full paper on BNI-enhanced wheat is available in PNAS.

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