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Increased Protein Accumulation in Alfalfa and Other Plants

From:http://www.ibridgenetwork.org Time:2014.09.28

Alfalfa is the fourth most important economic crop in the US and is considered a sustainable crop due to its N2-fixing capabilities, protection of soil and water, potential to produce energy, and many environmental services. However, although alfalfa is high in protein content, its proteins are relatively deficient in the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. In addition, the proteins in alfalfa are degraded by rumen microbes. The low sulfur-containing amino acid content and the high rumen degradability of alfalfa proteins limit alfalfa’s nutritional value for ruminants. As a result, there is a need to increase the nutritional potential of alfalfa by increasing the amount of protein that can survive the rumen intact.


(Picture from https://www.google.com)

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a way to genetically engineer increased methionine-rich protein accumulation in alfalfa and other plants. Through this invention they have also been able to increase the amount of protein that bypasses the rumen intact and is ultimately absorbed by the animal in the small intestine. These plants, therefore, offer increased nutrition to ruminant animals. They also serve as a potential source for extracted protein for use in animal, pet, or even human food applications.


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