News 578 views last update:6 Aug 2012

World's first GM phytase corn

Chinese agricultural biotech company Origin Agritech Ltd has developed the world's first genetically-modified phytase corn, and will introduce the product to the market in 2009 as an animal feed.

According to Biotech East, the product will eliminate the need to add phytase separately to corn as is currently mandatory in many countries to reduce the phosphorus waste burden on the environment.
Phytase is used as an additive in animal feed to breakdown phytic acid in corn, which holds 60% of the phosphorus in corn, effectively increasing phosphorus absorption in animals. Phosphorus is an essential element for the growth and development of all animals, and plays key roles in skeletal structure and is vital in metabolism.
Save time, machinery, labour and costs
With the introduction of this new corn, it is reported that animal feed producers will be able to eliminate purchasing phytase and corn separately, thereby eliminating the need for mixing the two ingredients together, saving time, machinery, and labour for the animal feed producers.
Beijing-headquartered Origin licensed the technology to develop the transgenic corn from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) after seven years of study by the research institute.
It is reported that the worldwide phytase potential market size is US$500 mln, including US$200 mln for China alone, according to the China Feed Industry Study. The corn seed market in China is estimated at US$1 bln.
"Phytic acid, the main form of phosphorous in plant-origin animal feeds, is poorly available to monogastric animals as they lack the enzyme capable of hydrolyzing phytic acid to release phosphate. Genetic modification is the world class standard and that is where China is moving," Dr Yun-Liu Fan, a scientist of CAAS and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering reported. "Our genetically modified corn will reduce the need for such phosphate supplements and reduce feed costs," she said.
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