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Technology

NxtOil technology greatly increases energy density in plant biomass by switching on oil production in leaves, meaning that you can produce very large yields of vegetable oil in high biomass plant species. This is achieved by activating genes in leaf that are usually only active in seed, resulting in the synthesis and accumulation of oil droplets in cells.

 A microscope image of a normal plant leaf showing some oil in yellow.   A microscope image of a NxtOil plant leaf showing significantly more oil in yellow.

You can read more about this technology in our peer reviewed manuscripts:

  1. NxtOil version 2 technology results in the accumulation of >35% oil in plant leaves. Step changes in leaf oil accumulation via iterative metabolic engineering. Metab Eng. 2017 39:237-246. doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2016.12.007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27993560
  2. NxtOil leaf oil profiles can be changed dramatically, including the introduction of medium-chain fatty acids such as C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0. Thioesterase overexpression in Nicotiana benthamiana leaf increases the fatty acid flux into triacylgycerol. FEBS Lett. 2017 591(2):448-456. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12539. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28024101
  3. NxtOil technology works in plant tubers, demonstrated here in potato! Genetic enhancement of oil content in potato tuber (Solanum tuberosum L.) through an integrated metabolic engineering strategy. Plant Biotechnol J. 2017 15(1):56-67. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12590. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27307093
  4. Version 1 NxtOil technology resulted in the accumulation of 15% oil in plant leaves. Metabolic engineering of biomass for high energy density: oilseed-like triacylglycerol yields from plant leaves. Plant Biotechnol J. 2014 12(2):231-9. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12131. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24151938
  5. Demonstration of the initial technology concept which identified the key synergistic response used in NxtOil plants. Synergistic effect of WRI1 and DGAT1 coexpression on triacylglycerol biosynthesis in plants. FEBS Lett. 2013 587(4):364-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2012.12.018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23313251

A strong patent portfolio underpins this scientific effort

  1. Methods of producing lipids, US20150353863 A1/WO2012000026-A
  2. Processes for producing hydrocarbon products, US8735111 B2/WO2013096993 A1
  3. Processes for producing lipids, US8809026 B2
  4. Processes for producing industrial products from plant lipids, US20160002566 A1/WO2016004473 A1.