AWC - Funded Research

Nitrogen Fixation in Triticale

AWC contribution: $100,000.00


This two years proposal is a proof of concept for the introduction of the N2 biological fixation pathway into mitochondria of crops. The nitrogen fixation (Nif) cluster will be introduced into triticale mitochondria using short peptide nanocarrier mediated delivery in microspore. New cells will be tested for the presence of the Nif cluster, gene expression, and 15N2 fixation.


  1. To develop an engineered triticale cell line containing mitochondrial genome enriched (nif) genes
  2. To use this cell line to generate N2-fixing triticale plants

Benefit to producers:

The nif cluster will be delivered in triticale mitochondria for proof of concept, prior to deployment in wheat (long term), if successful. This would provide a path forward to N2 biological fixation in wheat.


Dr. Eudes is a biotechnologist at Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC), Lethbridge, Alberta, where he manages a cell culture and genetic engineering laboratory with a mandate to develop new enabling technologies. His activities include work with triticale, wheat, barley, androgenesis, in vitro embryogenesis, genetic engineering and development of new technology platforms. Isolated microspore culture is a platform technology for the production of doubled haploid lines for breeding programs, as well as a target cell system for genetic engineering. His group has discovered short peptide nanocarriers enabling delivery of DNA, protein and assemblies off into the nucleus of plant cells. The convergence of these peptide technologies in microspore allows the engineering of the haploid genome of cereal microspores for the production of haploid and doubled haploid plant lines with new genetics.

Dr. Alicja Ziemienowicz is an expert in transgene delivery into eukaryotic cells and her discoveries find practical applications in both plant and medical biotechnology. Dr. Ziemienowicz’ previous research has made a significant contribution to the understanding of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of plants. She also developed a novel method of transgene delivery into triticale microspores using nanocomplexes that combine Agrobacterium T-DNA complexes with peptide nanocarriers. Other areas of her expertise include (i) molecular biology and genetic engineering, (ii) biochemistry of nucleo-protein complexes, (ii) isolated microspore culture, embryogenesis and plant selection and regeneration in wheat and triticale, and (iv) peptide-mediated delivery of transgenes into the nuclei and other organelles of triticale microspores.