Home pagePress monitoringGenetics efforts enriching nutrition of popcorn, sorghum

Genetics efforts enriching nutrition of popcorn, sorghum

Date: 20.2.2019 

Two kernels of the same idea – cultivating protein quality in cereal grains – are reaching maturity at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Kredit: Craig Chandler / University Communication. The quality of protein often gets overshadowed amid the spotlight on its quantity. But that quality – the presence or absence of amino acids essential to the diets of humans and livestock – occupies the mind of Nebraska's David Holding.

Holding and his colleagues at the Beadle Center have spent years working to raise levels of a vital amino acid, lysine, that's scarce in the protein of several cereal grains. By adopting different approaches – one traditional, the other emergent – the team has now managed to roughly double the lysine content of both popcorn and sorghum.

Higher lysine could add economic value and broaden the appeal of popcorn, the researchers said, while enhancing the nutritional value of the movie-theater favorite. Boosting lysine in sorghum should make the drought-resistant crop a more complete source of nutrition in the developing world, where it sometimes ranks as a dietary staple, and for livestock in the United States.

"We're doing something that's innovative from a scientific perspective but that also has a direct application that can hit the market relatively quickly," Holding said. "Both of these projects are driven by the desire to have a marketable product at the end."





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