Transport Engineering Removes Toxins From Oilseeds

August 8, 2012

1 Min Read
Transport Engineering Removes Toxins From Oilseeds

COPENHAGENResearchers at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new technology called transport engineering" that stops toxic glucosinolates from entering the edible parts of oilseed rape plants, which in turn, increases the potential of the plant to be used as a commercial animal feed, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The oilseed rape plant is but one example of a crop whose use will be greatly enhanced thanks to the new technology. Unlike the healthy glucosinolates found in broccoli, oilseed rape additionally produces a glucosinolate that is harmful to most animals when consumed in larger amounts. This means that protein-rich rapeseed cake produced using the byproduct of rapeseeds pressed for oil, can only be used in limited quantities for pig and chicken feed. Due to this, Northern Europe continues to import large amounts of soy cake for animal feed.

Researchers at the Center of Excellence for Dynamic Molecular Interactions (DynaMo) at the University of Copenhagens Faculty of Science found two proteins that transport glucosinolates into the seeds of the thale cress plant, a close relative of the oilseed rape. When they subsequently produced thale cress without the two proteins, the result was the seeds were completely free of glucosinolates and, thus, suitable for feed.

Worldwide, oilseed rape is the third most widely grown oilseed-producing crop. Bayer CropScience is negotiating with the University of Copenhagens Tech Transfer Unit to collaborate with the research group to deploy transport engineering" and produce an oilseed rape plant with glucosinolate-free seeds, which will significantly enhance the use of oilseed rape meal as animal feed and bring along a more sustainable oilseed rape processing procedure.

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