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Scientists Find Way to Increase Phosphorus Content in Wheat

Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark have discovered why some species of cereal have higher phytase activity than others and have patented a method for increasing phytase activity in wheat.

Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark have discovered why some species of cereal have higher phytase activity than others and have patented a method for increasing phytase activity in wheat. Phytase is important for the utilization of phosphorus and other minerals bound in plant seeds as it hydrolyzes phytic acid and releases the phosphorus for assimilation. Animals and humans have no natural phytase activity in their digestive system and very few plant seeds contain sufficiently high phytase levels, so scientists and plant breeders have tried to remedy this.

 

It turns out that the difference is due to a split of cereals into two different cereal families way back in ancient history. By studying the genome of the most important cereal – wheat – the scientists found that wheat contains a gene that in addition to coding for phytase in the shoots also codes for the generation of phytase in the ripened grain. Rice and maize do not contain this gene. The scientists are now screening a number of triticeae species and have discovered and demonstrated genetically how to produce a wheat with a phytase content on level with rye. This wheat hybrid, which has been named HighPhy, has been patented and sold to an English company for propagation.

 

View Aarhus University's news release at http://mbg.au.dk/en/news-and-events/news-item/artikel/fosfor-i-hvede-kan-nu-udnyttes-bedre-1/.

 

http://mbg.au.dk/uploads/pics/fosfor-i-hvede-kan-nu-udnyttes-bedre.jpg

Scientists from Aarhus University have discovered why some species of cereal have higher phytase activity than others and have patented a method for increasing phytase activity in cereal. Photo: Janne Hansen

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