Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers discover method to decrease harmful cyanogens and increase protein levels in key crop

Date:
August 2, 2011
Source:
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Summary:
"This breakthrough demonstrates that it is possible to use genetic modification to deliver enhanced cassava with decreased cyanogenic content as well as increased protein and essential amino acids that will directly benefit children and at-risk populations," said Narayanan.

Cassava hydroxynitrile lyase root.
Credit: Image courtesy of Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Researchers working at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center have made an another advancement in their efforts to improve the root crop cassava which is a major source of calories to 700 million people worldwide, primarily living in the developing world. A study conducted by Dr. Narayanan N. Narayanan and Dr. Uzoma Ihemere, research scientists working in the lab of Dr. Richard T. Sayre, have developed an approach that not only accelerates the reduction of cyanogen during food processing, resulting in a safer food product, but also lead to increased root protein levels and enhanced nutritional value.

The results of this research are published in the PloS One journal.

Cassava has many properties that make it an important food source across much of Africa and Asia. It grows well in poor soils with little rainfall, but it also has many limitations; both leaves and roots contain potentially toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides and although calorie dense, the starchy, tuberous roots provide the lowest sources of dietary protein among the major staple food crops; less than 30% of the minimum daily requirement.

Insufficient protein intake often leads to protein energy malnutrition (PEM), which can lead to permanent physical and mental disabilities. Cassava has the lowest protein to energy ratio (P:E) of any staple food, making resource-poor populations that rely on cassava as their major source of calories at high risk of PEM. According to the World Health Organization, PEM is by far the most lethal form of malnutrition, affecting one in four children in Africa.

Hydroxynitrile Lyase (HNL) is a natural cassava protein that contains 50% essential amino acids and is found in the leaves of the plant. It can be eaten by humans with no allergic side effects. Narayanan and his colleagues showed that transgenic roots expressing HNL had a 53-74% reduction in root cyanogen levels, and resulted in a nutritionally enhanced cassava that contained three times as much protein and twice as much total amino acids when compared with wild type. They also proved that over-expression of HNL reduced the time required to process and remove life threatening cyanogens in the tuberous roots from days to minutes. Significantly, HNL is heat stable and will tolerate cooking for 15 minutes which is helpful in variety of food preparation methods.

"This breakthrough demonstrates that it is possible to use genetic modification to deliver enhanced cassava with decreased cyanogenic content as well as increased protein and essential amino acids that will directly benefit children and at-risk populations," said Narayanan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Narayanan N. Narayanan, Uzoma Ihemere, Claire Ellery, Richard T. Sayre. Overexpression of Hydroxynitrile Lyase in Cassava Roots Elevates Protein and Free Amino Acids while Reducing Residual Cyanogen Levels. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (7): e21996 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021996

Cite This Page:

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. "Researchers discover method to decrease harmful cyanogens and increase protein levels in key crop." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802125803.htm>.
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. (2011, August 2). Researchers discover method to decrease harmful cyanogens and increase protein levels in key crop. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802125803.htm
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. "Researchers discover method to decrease harmful cyanogens and increase protein levels in key crop." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802125803.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. 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