Using membrane transporters to improve crops for sustainable food production

  • Nature volume 497, pages 6066 (02 May 2013)
  • doi:10.1038/nature11909
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With the global population predicted to grow by at least 25 per cent by 2050, the need for sustainable production of nutritious foods is critical for human and environmental health. Recent advances show that specialized plant membrane transporters can be used to enhance yields of staple crops, increase nutrient content and increase resistance to key stresses, including salinity, pathogens and aluminium toxicity, which in turn could expand available arable land.

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Research in our laboratories was supported by: the Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences at the US Department of Energy (DOE) under grant numbers DE-FG02-03ER15449 (to J.I.S.), DE-FG02-04ER15542 (to W.B.F.) and DE-FG-2-06ER15809 (to M.L.G.); by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Australia (to R.M. and E.D.); by the US National Science Foundation under grant numbers IOS:0842720 (to M.J.H.), MCB0918220 (to J.I.S.) and IOS-091994 and DBI 0701119 (to M.L.G.); by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council under grant number BB/J004561/1 (to D.S.); by the National Institutes of Health under grant numbers GM060396-P42ES010337 (to J.I.S.) and GM078536 and P42ES007373 (to M.L.G.); by the US Department of Agriculture under grant number 2009-02273 (to L.V.K.); by a Generation Challenge Grant under grant number G7010.03.06 (to L.V.K.); by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute under grant number 55005946 (to L.H.E.); the CREST Japan Science and Technology Agency (to N.K.N.); by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan under grant number 23119507 (to T.H.); and by the Academia Sinica, Taiwan and the National Science Council, Taiwan under grant number NSC 101-2321-B-001-005 (to Y.F.T.).

Author information


  1. Division of Biological Sciences, Food and Fuel for the 21st Century Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0116, USA

    • Julian I. Schroeder
  2. CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra 2601, Australia

    • Emmanuel Delhaize
    •  & Rana Munns
  3. Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • Wolf B. Frommer
  4. Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA

    • Mary Lou Guerinot
  5. Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tower Road, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

    • Maria J. Harrison
  6. Laboratorio Nacional de Genomica para la Biodiversidad, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, 36500 Irapuato, Mexico

    • Luis Herrera-Estrella
  7. Division of Applied Biology, Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University, Nagano 386-8567, Japan

    • Tomoaki Horie
  8. Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, USDA-ARS, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

    • Leon V. Kochian
  9. School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, Australia

    • Rana Munns
  10. Research Institute for Bioresources and Biotechnology, Ishikawa Prefectural University, Ishikawa 921-8836, Japan

    • Naoko K. Nishizawa
  11. Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan

    • Yi-Fang Tsay
  12. John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK

    • Dale Sanders


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The project was conceived and outlined by J.I.S. The manuscript was planned by J.I.S. and D.S. All authors contributed to writing sections of the manuscript and all authors commented on versions of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Julian I. Schroeder or Dale Sanders.


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