Transgenerational Enhancement of Plant Defenses

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Production of Resistant Plants Via Trans-generational Enhancement of Plant Defenses

From the Lab of Dr. Daniel Ballhorn, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA


Portland State University is seeking partnerships for research and commercialization for select technologies developed in University laboratories. This document presents a method for the production of herbivore-resistant plants via trans-generational enhancement of plant defenses in agriculturally important crops* including lima beans, flax and white clover developed by Dr. Daniel Ballhorn.



A new technology for the agricultural seed industry that allows for the production of seeds that possess enhanced herbivore-resistance over the life cycles of several generations.



Technology employs the application of jasmonic acid to induce natural defenses against insect herbivores in lima beans, flax and white clover, promoting stable, non-GMO yields season after season, and reducing use of chemical insecticides that when sprayed introduce harmful toxins into air, soil and groundwater. While research has previously shown the application of jasmonic acid to increase a plant’s natural defenses against insect herbivores, this is the first method of doing so that reproduces the effect over several generations of plants.



Dr. Ballhorn’s research focuses on direct and indirect defenses of plants against herbivores and pathogens. Lab studies of lima bean, white clover, and other plant species have shown that when treated with an application of jasmonic acid, an easily synthesized, natural plant hormone that plays a central role in regulating multiple defense-associated plant characteristics, they produce seeds with enhanced insect herbivore-resistance throughout the life-cycle of several generations. In the lab, Dr. Ballhorn continues to study the benefits of jasmonic acid on plant defenses in other agriculturally important species.


Related Web Links

Ballhorn Publications


“In Defense of Plants”


Innovation & Intellectual Property Contact

Miska Paulorinne

Innovation Associate

PSU Office: 503-725-8336


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shaun Mcgillis
Portland State University
Daniel Ballhorn
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