The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods to reduce or prevent crop losses due to unanticipated environmental and biological stresses. Lysophospholipids such as lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) and lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) are derived from membrane phospholipids by the action of the enzyme phospholipase A2 and naturally occur in many plant and animal tissues including egg yolk and soybeans. Drs. Palta and Farag previously exploited the properties of these compounds to accelerate fruit ripening enhance fruit stability during storage and increase the shelf life of vegetables by retarding senescence. UW-Madison researchers now have discovered that these compounds may also: 1) prevent damage to growing plants and seeds caused by abiotic and biotic stressors 2) accelerate plant recovery from stress and 3) enhance seed germination and seedling vigor. In a series of experiments they showed that plants sprayed with a lysophospholipid solution were both protected and recovered more quickly from chilling drought wound-damage pesticide application and microbial infection.
1) Lysophospholipids may be effectively applied both before and/or after plant exposure to stress. 2) Plants and seeds are easily treated by spraying or soaking. 3) Lysophospholipids may be mixed with other agricultural treatments for cost-effective application.