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Phytates removal and increased lysine content in cereals through the insertion of the Phyt and DapA genes


Foreseen Results

Improvement of the nutritional quality of cereals.
Phytic acid and phytates are recognized antinutritional factors which can render nutritionally unavailable several important cations such as Ca, Fe or Zn. Phytic P in the effluents of pig or poultry farms contributes to water eutrophyzation, a major problem in environmental pollution. In order to greatly reduce the content of phytic acid and phytates in cereals, the research group will insert a phytase coding gene (Phyt) in the plant genomes. A second objective of the present proposal deals with the increased production of lysine in cereal cells. Lysine is frequently the most limiting essential aminoacid in human diets based on plant foods. Conventional breeding has often been applied to improve protein quality but with limited success; molecular biology has recently provided a series of altemative strategies that can give a real break-through condition that an enhancement of lysine biosynthesis in the plant cell is reached. The transformation of cereals with the DapA gene will enable to partially deregulate the aspartic pathway in these plants and consequently to obtain higher rates of lysine production. Since both Phyt and DapA genes are expected to increase the nutritive value in the edible parts of the plants, efforts will be made to produce plants carrying either gene through co-transformation or manual crossing. The proposal gather people from different labs which are already familiar with tissue culture techniques, molecular biology practice and, most importantly, with cereal biolistic transformation. Also the competences involved in testing the nutritional quality of transgenic crops or the brewing and malting quality of transgenic barley are completely available in this group. Finally, it should be remembered that many partecipants are already cooperating within the COST Action 824, WG 3 (transformation of gametic cells).

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Via Delle Scienze 208
33100 Udine

Participants (6)

BBSRC John Innes Centre
United Kingdom
Norwich Research Park Colney
NR4 7UH Norwich
Institute of Experimental Botany - Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
15-16,Ke Dvoru 15-16
166 30 Prague 6
Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute

05 870 Blondie
Research Institute of Plant Production
122,Bratislavska Cesta 122
921 68 Piestany
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Via Emilia Parmense 84
29100 Piacenza
Universität Hamburg
18,Ohnhorststraße 18
22609 Hamburg