Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study points the way to more nutritious animal feed

16.08.2005


Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have traced the biochemical pathway by which plants build a compound that compromises the quality of corn and soybeans as an animal feed. Their studies indicate that it is feasible to engineer such plants to significantly improve their quality as animal feeds -- a potentially important boon to the hog and poultry industries, said the researchers



The researchers, led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator John York, published their findings the week of August 15 in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead author on the paper was Jill Stevenson-Paulik in the York laboratory. Their research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

In their studies, the researchers sought to understand the biochemical pathway that leads to the synthesis in plants of the chemical called phytate. In the plant, this molecule is a regulator of signaling in the cell; and in seeds, it acts as a phosphate storage molecule.


Phytate also acts as an "antinutrient" for animals, mainly pigs and chickens, that consume such grains, said Stevenson-Paulik. "Phytate is a very abundant compound in plant seeds that compromises the nutrition in the animals that consume it as their main food source. It binds such minerals as calcium and iron very well, and since it is not digested, animals that consume grains with phytate will lose these minerals as the phytate passes through their gut."

What’s more, said the researchers, such excreted phytate contributes to environmental phosphorus pollution, because it washes into surface waters causing the abnormal growth of aquatic plant life called eutrophication.

According to Stevenson-Paulik, creating low-phytate strains of feed grains was hindered by the lack of knowledge about the later biochemical pathways by which phytate is synthesized in plants.

In their studies, Stevenson-Paulik, York and their colleagues drew on their previous studies in yeast that enabled them to understand the biochemical pathways for producing phytate. Using those insights, they searched for counterpart genes in the mustard plant Arabidopsis -- a widely used model plant in genetic studies.

Their analysis revealed that the genes for two particular enzymatic regulatory switches, called kinases, were central to the final steps of phytate synthesis. What’s more, they found that genetic mutations that knocked out both these switches -- called AtlPK1 and AtlPK2_ -- nearly eliminated phytate production in the resulting Arabidopsis seeds.

Said York, "Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Jill’s work is the finding that it wasn’t just knocking out the last step in phytate synthesis that was important. Knocking out the last two steps really reduced seed phytate. And what was very unexpected and quite significant is that just knocking out one gene resulted in a buildup of toxic precursor compounds in the seeds." Also, found the researchers, the phytate-eliminating mutations did not compromise seed yield, and also increased the phosphate levels in the seeds.

"The amount of free phosphate in the double mutant is dramatically increased over what is found in nature," said Stevenson-Paulik. "And that has a great benefit in terms of nutrition, because it provides more available phosphorous for the animals that would eat grains with such properties."

According to York, a patent on the low-phytate strains has been applied for, and discussions have been initiated with feed companies about production of such grains. "The next step is to move this process into a commercial environment so that companies can begin producing low-phytate strains in their crop line," he said.

Dennnis Meredith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>