Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Milk in rice could curdle

26.04.2002


Biotech human breast milk growing but not bottled.



Genetically modified (GM) rice carrying a protein from human breast milk could be used to enhance infant formula, researchers hope. But at present, the protein would not gain approval for use in the United States.

Nutritionists agree that breast milk is best for a baby; infant formula is not as nourishing as the real thing. So for mothers unable to breast-feed, the biotech industry is engineering crops or animals to make human breast milk proteins to ’humanize’ formula.


Yuriko Adkins of the University of California, Davis and her colleagues, have modified rice plants to carry a human gene for a milk enzyme called lactoferrin. Babies need this to use iron efficiently and fight infection.

Rats fed the rice-raised ’recombinant’ enzyme together with a second enzyme, lysozyme, were better able to kill gastrointestinal bacteria, she told the Experimental Biology 2002 meeting this week in New Orleans. Sterilization inactivates the lactoferrin in current cow-based infant formula; the GM form is stable.

But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not approve the recombinant protein, warned Steve Taylor of the University of Nebraska, who has been involved in worldwide GM food committees. "I’m about to throw a bit of cold water on this debate," he said.

To test if GM products could cause an allergic reaction, the FDA compares a GM protein with known human allergens - including lactoferrin from cows.

The FDA’s regulations are designed to cover biotech plants that carry drugs or pesticides. They will have to be rethought before rice-grown lactoferrin, and other human proteins made by genetically modified organisms, can be approved for production, says Taylor.

Researchers may be able to bypass the regulatory process if they can prove that the recombinant protein acts identically in the gut to the human one. The two might then be treated as the same, hopes Todd Stoltz of Ventria Bioscience, the company planning commercial production of the human proteins in rice.

Murky milk

In future, recombinant proteins might be used to customize milk formulas, for example to enhance premature babies’ nutrient absorption or to help newborns fight HIV. HIV-positive mothers are advised against breast-feeding by the World Health Organization.

Human breast-milk proteins are already experimentally produced in organisms ranging from fungi to cows. "These proteins are out there by the tonne," says Bo Lonnerdal, who studies them at the University of California, Davis. Yet it is unclear exactly what some of them do in the body, or what tests must be done to demonstrate that they are safe and effective.

For example, there are no animal models that adequately mimic human allergy. And it is unclear whether an animal’s response to a human protein is comparable to that of a person.

Babies fed breast milk develop fewer infections than those on formula and have different gut bacteria. But there’s no guarantee that consumers will accept humanized biotech milk; they may be particularly concerned about feeding GM food to their baby. "It’s a very emotive issue," says Lonnerdal.

HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>