Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCR Biochemist Goes to Washington with High-Protein Corn

22.09.2005


Daniel Gallie’s findings propose a useful approach to feed the world’s growing population



Corn with twice its usual content of protein and oil and about half its usual carbohydrate content is what Daniel Gallie, professor of biochemistry, will present at a congressional seminar in Washington, D.C., this week.

Because his research holds promise for efficiently feeding high-protein corn to people and livestock all over the world, Gallie has been invited to speak to an audience of congressional staff in the Longworth House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. His 45-minute presentation is scheduled for 10 a.m., Sept. 23.


The National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research, a broad-based coalition of agricultural producers, science societies and universities, is sponsoring the seminar.

In the United States, the vast majority of corn – nearly 65 percent – is used to feed animals for meat production. Much of the remainder is exported to other countries for feeding animals or made into corn sweeteners or fuel alcohol. Corn, the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, accounts for more than 90 percent of total value and production of feed grains in the country, with around 80 million acres of land planted with corn.

Gallie’s research on doubling the protein content of corn grain adds significant value to the crop, benefiting corn producers. Moreover, his technology nearly doubles corn oil, the most valuable content of corn grain, and significantly increases the grain’s value. Corn is processed also into other food and industrial products such as starch, sweeteners, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.

“Nearly 800 million people in the world suffer from protein-energy malnutrition, which is a leading cause of death in children in developing countries, many of which already produce corn as a major cereal crop,” said Gallie. “A significant fraction of the world’s population, particularly in developing countries, has no access to meat as a protein source, and has to rely on plant sources such as grain. The new corn we have developed has two embryos in its kernel, which is what doubles the content of protein and oil and reduces the starch content. It could provide a good source of protein for those that depend on grain as their primary source of nutrients.”

Every corn kernel results from a flower on an ear of corn, Gallie explained. Initially the ear produces a pair of flowers for every kernel. But then one of the sister flowers undergoes abortion, resulting in one flower for each kernel. Gallie’s research group has developed technology that essentially rescues the aborted flower, resulting in two kernels that are fused together. “Despite the fusion, the kernels are not bigger,” Gallie said. “It’s basically the same corn, except that it is protein-rich and starch-poor – something that, if applied to sweet corn, would appeal to a large number of weight-conscious people in this country who are interested in low-carb diets and who normally avoid corn in their diets.”

Gallie and his colleagues published their work last year in The Plant Journal. Though their research focused on feed corn, the technology can easily be applied to sweet corn, a sugar-rich mutant strain of regular corn.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the California Agricultural Experiment Station funded the research.

Media interested in covering the event need to contact Brian Hyps at 301-251-0560, ext. 114, or bhyps@aspb.org.

Details of the study:

Flowers in the corn ear develop in pairs but one from each pair aborts before pollination can occur. Because of the role cytokinin, a plant hormone, plays in preventing organ death, Gallie’s research group introduced a gene that enabled production of cytokinin, thus rescuing the flowers. The kernels produced from pairs of flowers fused into a single normal-sized kernel that contained two embryos and a smaller endosperm, the food storage tissue that provides nutrients to the developing embryo. Because the embryo contains the majority of protein and oil, two embryos in the kernel doubles the protein and oil content in corn grain. The nutritional value of the grain improves also because the size of the endosperm, which contains most of the carbohydrates, is reduced.

Brief biography of Daniel Gallie:

Daniel Gallie received his doctoral degree in 1985 from the University of California, Davis. After completing postdoctoral studies at the John Innes Institute in Norwich, England, and at Stanford University, he joined UCR in 1990. During his career, Gallie has investigated the regulation of protein synthesis, the function of heat stress proteins, the control of cell death in plants, the role of plant hormones such as ethylene and cytokinin during plant growth and development, and the function of vitamin C in a plant’s response to adverse environmental conditions. Results from his group have been published in over 100 papers and patents. He is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists, a professional society devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>