Texas A&M researcher leads $1.2 million DOE grant for biosensors

In Texas, Wayne Versaw, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University in College Station is the lead researcher in a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Energy to support the development of biosensors to track and measure the movement of phosphate from soil fungi into plant cells in real time.

The biosensor system will provide insights into phosphate concentrations within root cells and will help reveal how plants use their symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi to acquire more phosphate from the surrounding soil. By making this process more efficient, growers may produce bioenergy and food crops in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

The grant comes from DOE’s New Bioimaging Technologies for Plant and Microbial Systems program, which aims to improve understanding of cellular metabolism to support the development of plant biomass-based biofuel production.

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