Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experiment station researcher looking for missing links in corn

08.07.2004


A scientist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station said the development of corn with improved protein quality would reduce the need for soybean additives when feeding corn to swine and poultry. Corn is deficient in two essential amino acids, lysine and tryptophan. Increasing the relative content of these two amino acids is the project of corn researcher Dr. Javier Betran.

The resulting nutritionally-improved corn, known as Quality Protein Maize, could have positive implications not only for livestock feeding, but also for human consumption – particularly in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. There, corn is the main food staple.

Nobel laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, a distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M University, has said new technological advances are key to helping developing countries meet future food supply demands.



He has said his greatest worry is Africa, because of its high rates of population, little application of improved technology and escalating food deficits. Borlaug and the International Center for Wheat and Maize Improvement are promoting the development and adoption of Quality Protein Maize in developing countries around the world.

While better protein corn would help human nutrition, it would vastly improve feeding costs in segments of animal agriculture by reducing the need of better protein supplements, Betran said.

"Corn is mainly used for animal feeding in the United States," Betran said. "About 65 percent goes into animal feed. If you feed poultry the same corn, you need to supplement it with another product. Soybeans or synthetic lysine are commonly used to provide the protein quality that the corn doesn’t have. Our approach is to improve corn to enhance the content for these two essential amino acids."

In the early 1960s, scientists discovered a "mutant" maize that contained protein with nearly twice as much lysine and tryptophan as found in normal maize. Called "Opaque-2 maize," the protein had a 90 percent of the nutritive value of the proteins in skim milk - the standard against which cereal protein is normally measured.

But it was later discovered by incorporating the "Opaque-2" mutation to corn, it yielded less grain. It also had a higher moisture content and was more susceptible to fungal and insect infestations.

"Those facts right there are not well received by farmers," Betran said. "Our challenge is to put together the protein quality with a competitive yield grain. We want it to be a value-added trait that perhaps has good appealing characteristics. Farmers are not ready at this time for something that has the protein quality but is not a high-yielding variety."

The research includes another component -- making a variety that is less susceptible to aflatoxin, which has been a nemesis for Texas farmers the past decade. Aflatoxin, a mold that commonly develops during periods of drought, can cause illness or death in livestock that consume it.

"We want to have something that is high quality, but yet have low-risk to aflatoxin and it is adapted to our growing conditions," Betran said. "We are selecting and breeding materials from different origins to develop a value-added corn with a desirable combination of traits."

| EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>