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News 150 views last update:6 Aug 2012

DuPont introduces low-phytic acid products

A team of DuPont scientists has identified a gene that, when silenced, can help increase the feed value of grain, improve breeding programs for corn and other crops and reduce phosphorous in animal waste.

The gene controls production of phytic acid, a compound in grain and oilseeds that is not digestible by monogastric animals, such as swine and poultry, and reduces the availability of essential minerals. Through genetic manipulation, researchers at DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred were able to silence the gene in corn, greatly reducing the amount of phytic acid in the seed.

Low-phytic acid offering
"This research is a major advancement in our effort to improve the quality of grain used for animal feed and brings more value to producers," said Jinrui Shi, research scientist at Pioneer. "For years, seed and biotech companies have been trying, with little success, to bring a low-phytic acid offering to market. This is the first time an institution has successfully produced a transgenic low-phytic acid trait without impacting germination or plant growth. In the past, this has precluded successful commercialization of this trait."

Good for farmer and environment
Low-phytic acid seed is beneficial because it increases the amount of nutritionally available phosphorus and the bioavailability of essential minerals, which reduces the need for producers to add more costly feed supplements. In addition, lowering the amount of phosphorus from undigested phytic acid in manure can help reduce the environmental impacts of livestock production.

Results of this research were published online in Nature Biotechnology on August 5.

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