Transgenic maize endosperm containing a milk protein has improved amino acid balance
In order to meet the protein nutrition needs of the world population, greater reliance on plant protein sources will become necessary. The amino acid balance of most plant protein sources does not match the nutritional requirements of monogastric animals, limiting their nutritional value. In cereals, the essential amino acid lysine is deficient. Maize is a major component of human and animal diets worldwide and especially where sources of plant protein are in critical need such as sub-Saharan Africa. To improve the amino acid balance of maize, we developed transgenic maize lines that produce the milk protein α-lactalbumin in the endosperm. Lines in which the transgene was inherited as a single dominant genetic locus were identified. Sibling kernels with or without the transgene were compared to determine the effect of the transgene on kernel traits in lines selected for their high content of α-lactalbumin. Total protein content in endosperm from transgene positive kernels was not significantly different from total protein content in endosperm from transgene negative kernels in three out of four comparisons, whereas the lysine content of the lines examined was 29–47% greater in endosperm from transgene positive kernels. The content of some other amino acids was changed to a lesser extent. Taken together, these changes resulted in the transgenic endosperms having an improved amino acid balance relative to non-transgenic endosperms produced on the same ear. Kernel appearance, weight, density and zein content did not exhibit substantial differences in kernels expressing the transgene when compared to non-expressing siblings. Assessment of the antigenicity and impacts on animal health will be required in order to determine the overall value of this technology.
KeywordsTransgene Maize α-Lactalbumin Lysine Nutrition Grain
The authors wish to thank Erik Mottl and Merinda Struthers for technical assistance. Names are necessary to report factually on the available data; however, the USDA neither guarantees nor warrants the standard of the product, and the use of the name by the USDA implies no approval of the product to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. This work was funded in part by an Iowa Corn Promotion Board grant to MPS and ML and by the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding. EHB was supported by a fellowship from Pioneer Hibred International awarded to EHB and ML.
- AOAC (2002) Method 982.30 E(a,b). In: Official Methods of Analysis, Ed 17, Chapter 45.3.05Google Scholar
- Armstrong CL, Green CE, Phillips RL (1991) Development and availability of germplasm with high Type II culture formation response. Maize Genet Coop News 65:92–93Google Scholar
- FAO (2003) FAO statistical databases http://apps.fao.org/Google Scholar
- FAO/WHO/UNU (1985) Energy and protein requirements. Report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- Frame BR, Zhang H, Cocciolone SM, Sidorenko LV, Dietrich CR, Pegg SE, Zhen S, Schnable PS, Wang K (2000) Production of transgenic maize from bombarded Type II callus: effect of gold particle size and callus morphology on transformation efficiency. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Plant 36:21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Register JC, Peterson DJ, Bell PJ, Bullock WP, Evans EJ, Frame B, Greenland AJ, Higgs NS, Jepson I, Jiao S, Klewnau CJ, Sillick JM, Wilson HM (1994) Structure and function of selectable and non-selectable transgenes in maize after introduction by particle bombardment. Plant Mol Biol 25:951–961PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Renner E (1988) Milk and dairy products in human nutrition. Volkswirtschaftlicher Verlag, MunchenGoogle Scholar
- Scott MP, Bicar EH (2003) Biotechnology enhanced crops for improved health. Animal Science Symposium, CanadaGoogle Scholar
- Scott MP, Peterson JM, Sangtong V, Moran, D, Guillumine, P-H (2007) A wheat genomic DNA fragment reduces pollen transmission in maize transgenes by reducing pollen viability. Transgenic Res doi: 10.1007/s11248-006-9055-x
- Taylor S (1992) Chemistry and detection of food allergens. Food Technol 46:148–152Google Scholar