Volume 24. Number 1. 2019

Rice Plants Engineered for Better Photosynthesis Make More Rice


A study published in the journal Molecular Plant reports that a new bioengineering approach for boosting photosynthesis in rice plants could increase grain yield by up to 27%. Called GOC bypass, the approach enriches plant cells with CO2 that would otherwise be lost through photorespiration. The genetically engineered plants were greener and larger and showed increased photosynthetic efficiency and productivity under field conditions, with particular advantages in bright light. Crop Biotech Update. 16 January 2019.

Gene Editing for Developing GM Spicy Tomatoes


With the development of gene editing tools, experts from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil explored on the possibility of engineering spicy tomatoes. The paper is published in Trends in Plant Science. Crop Biotech Update. 16 January 2019.

Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines May Save Billions in Health-related Costs


A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that improving the quality of the average American’s diet could substantially reduce costs associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other major health problems. IFT Weekly Newsletter 9 January 2019.

Better Photosynthesis Could Boost Food Production

Biologists have boosted the biomass of tobacco by around 40 per cent by compensating for a fundamental flaw in photosynthesis. The enzyme in plants that grabs hold of carbon dioxide often grabs oxygen molecules by mistake, generating toxic molecules that cost energy to mop up. By genetically engineering alternative sequences of chemical reactions into tobacco plants, researchers achieved big gains in yield. The team is now trying to introduce the same changes into food crops, starting with cowpeas and soya. Read more New Scientist Daily 4-1-2019

Salivary Proteins May Influence Food Choices

Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion process, and it also helps us to taste food. Scientists recently discovered that proteins in saliva go beyond helping us taste food to actually influencing how the food tastes, which in turn could influence what foods people willingly choose to eat. Proteins released by salivary glands interact with taste receptors in the mouth and flavour compounds in foods. Some are thought to impart astringent taste sensations that people might experience when eating foods such as red wine and certain types of chocolate. “We found that feeding people chocolate milk, which contained polyphenols (the healthy, but nasty tasting stuff in chocolate), changed the make-up of their saliva,” says Cordelia A. Running, assistant professor of nutrition science and food science at Purdue University. "Some of the changes could mean that these polyphenols might taste less nasty in the long run. This could explain why some people acquire tastes for certain foods, but also could be a useful message for people: that maybe healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad—at least not forever." IFTNEXT Newsletter 12 December 2018.

Edible Cottonseed Receives Regulatory Approval


After two decades, Texas A&M University professor Keerti Rathore received word that the genetically engineered cottonseed (low in gossypol content) he and his team developed has been deregulated. This paves the way for use of the transgenic cottonseed as a human food ingredient and significantly expands its potential animal feed applications to include poultry and fish. IFTNEXT Newsletter 12 December 2018

Dietary Fiber May Prevent Brain Inflammation During Aging


We all know that fibre is good for us, and now researchers have added a new reason to consume it, perhaps particularly for older individuals. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Immu-nology found that dietary fibre helps to reduce damaging brain inflammation. Read more... IFTNEXT Newsletter, 5 December 2018

How Do Whole Grain Diets Benefit Health?


A diet rich in whole grains has long been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Until recently, however, the molecular mechanisms of such a diet have not been well understood. But using metabolomics analysis, researchers have shed new light on the cellular effects of a whole-grain–rich diet. Read more... IFTNEXT Newsletter, 5 December 2018

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax +27 (0)86 625 2869 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.