Cassava packs a protein punch with bean genes

In summary, a recent article from New Scientist discusses the discovery that cassava can be genetically modified to increase its protein content using bean and maize genes. This could potentially save millions of African children from malnutrition. The plant uses its natural supply of cyanide to produce the protein, and other modified staple foods such as "protato" in India and aubergines have also been developed. The conversation also speculates about other protein-enhanced foods like cattlecorn, pumpkinpork, applefish, and chickenberries. The research was conducted by Claude Fauquet of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri.
  • #1


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From this week's New Sceintist, "Cassava packs a protein punch with bean genes".

Free registration may be required to view the article. From the article,

"A DEADLY poison could save the lives of millions of African children, thanks to the discovery that cassava can be duped into turning about half of the cyanide it makes into extra protein.

Although cassava is a major source of carbohydrates for 700 million people, mostly in Africa, it normally contains only small amounts of protein. Claude Fauquet of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, and his team bumped up the protein content to 12.5 per cent by adding bean and maize genes to make a protein called zeolin. They were surprised to find that the plant used its natural supply of cyanide to provide the building blocks of the new protein. "Cyanide is a source of nitrogen within the plant," explains Fauquet.
Other modified staples include the "protato" developed in India, and aubergines, recently denied approval in India because of objections from groups opposed to genetically modified crops.

I'm ready for the protato, let me buy some! What other foods might have their protein content increased. Could we have a protein enhanced potato that tasted like cattle meat or fish meat and satisfied the body in a similar way?

How about cattlecorn, pumpkinpork, applefish, or chickenberries?

Hats off to Claude Fauquet of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri!
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  • #2
Good link. Thanks for the post.

1. What is cassava?

Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that is commonly grown in tropical regions. It is an important source of carbohydrates for millions of people around the world.

2. How does cassava pack a protein punch with bean genes?

Cassava is naturally low in protein, but scientists have recently discovered a way to increase its protein content by incorporating genes from beans. This genetic modification allows for a higher protein yield in cassava plants.

3. Why is this discovery significant?

This discovery is significant because cassava is a staple food for many people in developing countries, but it lacks sufficient protein to meet nutritional needs. By increasing its protein content, cassava can become a more complete and nutritious food source.

4. Is cassava safe to consume with bean genes?

Yes, cassava with bean genes has been extensively tested and has been deemed safe for consumption by regulatory agencies. The genetic modification only affects the protein content of the plant and does not introduce any harmful substances.

5. Can cassava with bean genes be grown and consumed globally?

Currently, cassava with bean genes is still in the research and development phase. It will need to undergo further testing and regulatory approval before it can be grown and consumed on a global scale. However, the potential benefits for food security and nutrition make it a promising prospect for the future.

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