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More starch with your wheat?

Applying the principles of biotechnology in the food/agriculture industry has proven revolutionary in many ways. Based on this, scientists are trying to increase the starch content of wheat thus improving its nutritional value.

Health

The aim of the EU-funded MOSSYWE project was to understand the mechanisms involved in starch production in wheat plant cells and ways to manipulate these and the components behind them. More specifically, project partners focused on the factors affecting ad glucose (adpg) concentration in wheat endosperm. Adpg is the substrate for starch synthesis and it affects the rate of synthesis as well as the quality of the starch that is produced. Biogemma UK Ltd, worked on creating and analysing new transgenic wheat lines with specific molecular characteristics. Modifying the genetic content, and hence the protein function, of these lines was carried out in order to shed light on the function of specific cellular components. Researchers studied the function of enzymes involved in glucose synthesis and degradation and whether their absence or upregulation would result in starch concentration increases. The genetic constructs that were created included wheat lines expressing various levels of enzymes involved in the generation and breakdown of glycogen and synthesis. Cell lines expressing ATPT1, AGPPase and the mutant glgC16 among others were analysed in terms of starch content and compared to control lines. The results were varied and the analysis is expected to show, which lines are worth concentrating for future projects. The implications of these findings could be significant for the food industry. The company is seeking to further its research by collaborating with partners capable of capitalising on these developments.

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Scientific advances
Health

9 October 2020