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Expression of polyhydroxybutyric acid as a model for metabolic engineering of soybean seed coats


The feasibility of genetically engineering soybean seed coats to divert metabolism towards the production of novel biochemicals was tested. The genes phbA, phbB, phbC from Ralstonia eutropha each under the control of the seed coat peroxidase promoter were introduced into soybean and the production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) was assayed. The analysis of seed coats arising from 4 independent transformation events demonstrated that PHB was produced at a mean of 0.12% seed coat dried weight with individual values up to 0.36%. These values demonstrate that it is possible to metabolically engineer soybean seed coats.

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We thank Dr. D.C.W. Brown and Tara Rintoul of the Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre, London, Ontario N5V 4T3 for soybean transformation, and referees for helpful suggestions. This research was supported, in part, by a strategic grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to DAJ.

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Correspondence to D. A. Johnson.

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Schnell, J.A., Treyvaud-Amiguet, V., Arnason, J.T. et al. Expression of polyhydroxybutyric acid as a model for metabolic engineering of soybean seed coats. Transgenic Res 21, 895–899 (2012).

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  • Soybean seed coat
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Bioplastics
  • Polyhydroxybutyrate