Generating Ammonia Excreting Mutant Bacterial Strains

Generating Ammonia Excreting Mutant Bacterial Strains

Unmet Need: Effective Nitrogen-fixing Symbioses of Non-Legumes.

Legumes have been an integral part of sustainable agricultural systems for thousands of years due to their ability to form nitrogen fixing symbioses with diazotrophic bacteria. Unfortunately, many important food species including the grasses, maize/corn, rice, and wheat cannot establish effective nitrogen-fixing symbioses with diazotrophs, which means that they are largely dependent on nitrogenous fertilizers to increase yields.


The Technology: Creation of Ammonia Excreting Bacterial Mutants.

Researchers at WSU have developed mutant strains of Azotobacter vinellandii which were then demonstrated to excrete ammonia and stimulate the growth of plants under conditions of limited fixed nitrogen. These mutants produce significantly more ammonia when compared to the wild-type strain of same bacteria.



•       Can be used a biofertilizers for soil amendments.


•       Significant improvement of nitrogen fixation and plant growth.

•       Less expensive than conventionally used nitrogenous fertilizers.

•       The strains can be directly applied as biofertilizers to the soil for enhancement of crop production.


Patent Information:

Provisional patent application filed



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Deah McGaughey
Technology Licensing Associate
Washington State University
(509) 335-9502
Reference No: TECH-19/3272


John Peters
Florence Mus
Alexander Alleman
Nathaniel Boyer

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