Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experiment Station Researcher Looking For Missing Links In Corn

Date:
July 8, 2004
Source:
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
Summary:
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.

COLLEGE STATION – 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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. "Experiment Station Researcher Looking For Missing Links In Corn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040708003837.htm>.
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. (2004, July 8). Experiment Station Researcher Looking For Missing Links In Corn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040708003837.htm
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. "Experiment Station Researcher Looking For Missing Links In Corn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040708003837.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins