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 The big clean up after stress
25.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>