Biotech Updates

Ramping Up Phytochemical Pterostilbene in Crops

November 27, 2013

Scientists from USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) reported a biotechnological approach that enables crops to produce, or to increase production of the phytochemical compound pterostilbene. The approach could pave the way for ramping up levels of pterostilbene in crops that normally produce it, such as grapes and berries.

There are two stilbenes, resveratrol and pterostilbene, which may possess similar beneficial health properties. During their work, the team showed that SbOMT3, a previously characterized and patented gene from sorghum, is capable of converting resveratrol to pterostilbene. They then built on that conversion activity by co-expressing SbOMT3 with a stilbene-synthase gene (AhSTS3) that had been isolated from the peanut plant. The approach was then tested in transgenic plants of two different species that do not naturally produce pterostilbene.

For more details about this research, read the article Ramping Up a Phytochemical Compound in Crops in the November/December 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine available at: