Scientists Are Modifying Agricultural Products to Produce More Oil

Scientists Are Changing Agricultural Products to Produce More Oil
Scientists Are Changing Agricultural Products to Produce More Oil

Scientists have decoded a genetic code that makes oil-producing plants like soybeans and peanuts produce even more oil; this can be beneficial for human nutrition and relieve some of the pressure on the environment.

Many oilseed crops, such as rapeseed, palm oil, soybeans, and peanuts, have become important suppliers of protein, cooking oil and food additives in the modern human diet. Indirectly, they play an important role in the production of consumer goods, biofuels and many other industries that use these oily products as raw materials for livestock.

These products are now closely linked to our lives, but their environmental impact is increasing as a result. This is a concern as some crops, such as soybeans, are grown in tropical environments where deforestation is high.

But the researchers' discovery, published in Science Advances, could increase the production of these critical crops and reduce land requirements in ways that are extremely beneficial to the habitats in which they are grown.

They discovered that a protein known as WRINKLED1 or WRI1 hid the secret. This protein is already known to help regulate how much oil is produced by plant seeds. According to the researchers, it has also been understood that it does this by binding to the plant's DNA and "triggers a specific chain of instructions that regulates fat accumulation."

He also had reason to believe, based on previous studies, that the amount of oil produced in the seeds affected how tightly WRI1 binds to DNA. So scientists began experimenting to see if they could create proteins that could bind more tightly to DNA.

They made a significant technological advance by mapping and photographing the entire molecular structure of WRI1 and noting the regions that bind to DNA. Later, these parts were changed by the researchers and their binding abilities were improved.

They did this to produce several variations of WRI1 and were able to grow these variations in plants to test their ability to produce oil.

First, investigations revealed that DNA binding is ten times greater in altered proteins. More surprisingly, the bioengineered seeds produced 15% to 18% more oil in the original test plants containing the modified protein than seeds from unmodified plants. The offspring of the plant also had the same oil-producing trait, because this trait was also hereditary.

The researchers note that for direct dietary applications of vegetable oils, more productive plants with improved nutritional values ​​could help improve food security – “a crucial goal to meet the growing global demand for vegetable oils.”

However, there is still a lot of work to be done before this laboratory research can be applied in the field. Meanwhile, the researchers are trying to speed up the procedure by applying for a patent to commercialize their invention and promote it to plants.

As arable land declines and protecting natural habitats becomes more vital, agriculture will need to do more with less. We hope that such technologies will push us in that direction.

Source: anthropocenemagazine

 

Günceleme: 25/12/2022 20:51

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