Identification of a new functional amino acid that facilitates root formation

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May 24, 2024

Holding promise for plant biomass augmentation by regulating growth

The RIKEN CSRS discovered that 2-aminopimelic acid, a nonproteinogenic amino acid, has a rooting function in plants. Adding this functional amino acid is expected to enhance lateral root emergence and increase biomass yields in hydroponics in a wide variety of dicotyledonous plants.

Regulating plant growth and environmental responses is a highly versatile agricultural strategy for improving yields, and it has been actively studied for some time. Recently, agricultural techniques using biostimulants have been attracting much interest. Giving these stimulants to plants improves drought tolerance and crop yields.

The phenotypic analysis of the results from the stimulant-adding experiments revealed that 2-aminopimelic acid is a functional amino acid involved in the root morphogenesis of dicotyledonous plants. The 2-aminopimelic acid is a plant metabolite initially extracted from a fern species half a century ago. However, the physiological activity of this compound has remained unknown. When 2-aminopimelic acid is added to plants, their primary and lateral root system transforms into pseudo-fibrous roots. This fibrous root system promotes the advantageous growth of plants by taking in nutrition efficiently in a water-rich environment. Therefore, the use of 2-aminopimelic acid could expand the potential of plants in hydroponics.

Original article
FEBS Letters doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.14908
H. Tabeta, M. Y. Hirai,
"L-2-Aminopimelic acid acts as an auxin mimic to induce lateral root formation across diverse plant species".
Hiromitsu Tabeta; Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Masami Hirai; Team Leader
Metabolic Systems Research Team