Scientists to Improve Plants' Oil Content by Unlocking Lipid Pathways

February 13, 2013

Scientists from the Rothamstead Research in England will attempt to unlock plant lipid pathways to produce oils with greater nutritional potential and to help address the issues on fish stock sustainability. In their research article submitted in February's issue of Plant Biotechnology Journal, scientists describe how the emerging science of synthetic biology provides a new paradigm for plant lipid engineering. This will allow scientists to build a bespoke systems by re-designing metabolic pathways from scratch to create entirely new biosynthetic pathways de novo within cells, thereby enabling production of valuable molecules.

One of the highlight of their work is the creation of a more sustainable source of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), which have been strongly linked with improved cardiovascular health and cognitive development. Along with the nutrition and health benefits, the production of plant-based methods to produce LC-PUFAs may also help to reduce the problems in aquaculture who have to turn to less sustainable sources of LC-PUFAs in fishmeal, as sea stocks of oily fish deplete. Current plant sources do not provide the right type of LC-PUFAs in the right quantities that are bioavailable to humans.

View Rothamstead Research's news release at http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/PressReleases.php?PRID=216. Access the journal article at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12012/pdf.