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Protein derived from cottonseed for human nutrition one step closer to reality

Date: 17.10.2018 

Cottonseed ground into flour to deliver protein to millions of people, a project to which Dr. Keerti Rathore has devoted more than half his professional career, is one step closer to reality.

Kredit: Texas A&M / Beth Luedeker.Through a project funded by Cotton Incorporated, Rathore and the Texas A&M team have developed a transgenic cotton plant – TAM66274 – with ultra-low gossypol levels in the seed that maintains normal plant-protecting gossypol levels in the rest of the plant.

"Gossypol suppression in cottonseed has been part of our funded research portfolio for over 30 years. "It took time to tap the innate protein potential in the seed; time for the right technologies to develop; and time for the right research team to come along."

"Gossypol in the leaves and stalks of the cotton plant serve as a pest deterrent, but its presence in the seed serves no purpose." "The more widespread use of cottonseed as a livestock feed and even for human consumption has been stymied by the natural levels of gossypol in the seed. As we progress through the regulatory review, the ability to utilize the protein potential in the seed gets that much closer."

Gossypol, while toxic to humans and monogastric animals such as pigs, birds, fish and rodents, is useful to cotton plants for defense against insects and pathogens. Therefore, cottonseed containing gossypol is currently used mainly as ruminant animal feed, either as whole seed or cottonseed meal after oil extraction.


 

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