HOME ABOUT CONTACT AVAILABLE ISSUES SUBSCRIBE MEDIA & ADS
LATEST UPDATES » Vol 23, No 10, October 2019 – Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling       » Chinese scientist find new possibilities in dengue virus control       » 50 young scientists awarded with the inaugural XPLORER PRIZE       » Entering the China market to provide regional support       » Science, Tech, and policies convene for a sustainable future      
NEWS CRUNCH
Genetically boosting the nutritional value of corn could benefit millions
Rutgers scientists discover way to reduce animal feed and food production costs by increasing a key nutrient in corn

Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of corn - the world's largest commodity crop - by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, according to a new study.

The Rutgers University-New Brunswick discovery could benefit millions of people in developing countries, such as in South America and Africa, who depend on corn as a staple. It could also significantly reduce worldwide animal feed costs.

"We improved the nutritional value of corn, the largest commodity crop grown on Earth," said Thomas Leustek, study co-author and professor in the Department of Plant Biology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "Most corn is used for animal feed, but it lacks methionine - a key amino acid - and we found an effective way to add it."

The study, led by Jose Planta, a doctoral student at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, was published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Methionine, found in meat, is one of the nine essential amino acids that humans get from food, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. It is needed for growth and tissue repair, improves the tone and flexibility of skin and hair, and strengthens nails. The sulfur in methionine protects cells from pollutants, slows cell aging and is essential for absorbing selenium and zinc.

Every year, synthetic methionine worth several billion dollars is added to field corn seed, which lacks the substance in nature, said study senior author Joachim Messing, a professor who directs the Waksman Institute of Microbiology. The other co-author is Xiaoli Xiang of the Rutgers Department of Plant Biology and Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China.

"It is a costly, energy-consuming process," said Messing, whose lab collaborated with Leustek's lab for this study. "Methionine is added because animals won't grow without it. In many developing countries where corn is a staple, methionine is also important for people, especially children. It's vital nutrition, like a vitamin."

Chicken feed is usually prepared as a corn-soybean mixture, and methionine is the sole essential sulfur-containing amino acid that's missing, the study says.

The Rutgers scientists inserted an E. coli bacterial gene into the corn plant's genome and grew several generations of corn. The E. coli enzyme - 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate reductase (EcPAPR) - spurred methionine production in just the plant's leaves instead of the entire plant to avoid the accumulation of toxic byproducts, Leustek said. As a result, methionine in corn kernels increased by 57 percent, the study says.

Then the scientists conducted a chicken feeding trial at Rutgers and showed that the genetically engineered corn was nutritious for them, Messing said.

"To our surprise, one important outcome was that corn plant growth was not affected," he said.

In the developed world, including the U.S., meat proteins generally have lots of methionine, Leustek said. But in the developing world, subsistence farmers grow corn for their family's consumption.

"Our study shows that they wouldn't have to purchase methionine supplements or expensive foods that have higher methionine," he said.

Source: Rutgers
NEWS CRUNCH  
news The Proteona Oncology Challenge using ESCAPETM Single Cell Proteogenomic Analysis
news New computational fluid dynamics solution for modeling aerosol mixtures in biomedical and environmental research
news Medial Fair Thailand opened on 11th September 2019 with a focus on future-proofing Thailand's healthcare industry to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next decade
news Biofuel Producers and Users to Convene in Singapore for Global Biofuels Summit
PR NEWSWIRE  
Asia Pacific Biotech News
SPOTLIGHT  
LIFE OF A SCIENTIST  

APBN Editorial Calendar 2019
January:
Taiwan Medical tourism
February:
Marijuana as medicine — Legal marijuana will open up scientific research
March:
Driven by curiosity
April:
Career developments for researchers
May:
What's cracking — Antibodies in ostrich eggs
June:
Clinical trials — What's in a name?
July:
Traditional Chinese medicine in modern healthcare — Integrating both worlds
August:
Digitalization vs Digitization — Exploring Emerging Trends in Healthcare
September:
Healthy Ageing — How Science is chipping in
October:
Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
MAGAZINE TAGS
About Us
Events
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
CONTACT
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Deborah Seah
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   biotech_ad@wspc.com
Copyright© 2019 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy