Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

Plant & Soil Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



AtSAP13, Crambe abyssinica, Abiotic stress, biofuel


Abiotic stresses such as drought, salt and exposure to toxic metals adversely affect the growth and productivity of crop plants and are serious threats to agriculture. We are currently working with an Arabidopsis family of proteins known as Stress Associated Proteins (SAPs). There are a total of 14 proteins in the Arabidopsis SAP family whose members have been suggested to provide tolerance to abiotic stresses in plants.

For this project, we aim to characterize AtSAP13, which codes for a protein of 249 amino acid residues. Through overexpression, we investigated the sensitivity or tolerances provided by the overexpressed protein in comparison to wild-type plants. Our preliminary results showed that Arabidopsis plants overexpressing SAP13 showed strong tolerance to arsenite, cadmium, and zinc. A semi-quantitative RT-PCR was performed to analyze SAP13’s mRNA levels in wild type plants exposed to the same set of stresses. Tissue specific expression was analyzed using a GUS histochemical assay. Sub-cellular localization of AtSAP13 was analyzed by creating an in-frame fusion of SAP13 and enhanced GFP (eGFP).

We set out to optimize growth conditions for Crambe abyssinica in order to determine if Crambe could be grown as a biofuel crop in New England. We have determined that Crambe can be grown successfully in the New England climate. We tested three fertilizer application rates, two different cultivars, and two different soil types for changes in yield. In the end, we observed the greatest increase in yield when planted on well drained soil.

First Advisor

Om Parkash