Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Glucanase in Maize for Direct Use in Animal Feed

January 15, 2014

Animal feeds often include exogenous glucanase, enzymes that break down glucan, for efficient nutrition absoption. The glucanase (Bgl7A) from Bispora sp., a filamentous fungus, has excellent properties and thus could be a potential enzyme supplement to animal feed. Scientist Yuhong Zhang from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and colleagues developed biotech maize producing high level of glucanase Bgl7A.

Analyses indicated stable expression of the transgene in maize genes over four generations. The β-glucanase activity of the biotech maize seeds reached up to 779,800 U/kg, about 236-fold higher than that of non-biotech maize. The β-glucanase derived from the biotech maize seeds had an optimal pH of 4.0 and was stable at pH 1.0–8.0, which is similar with the normal environment of digestive tract.

Based on the results of the study, the biotech maize developed could be directly used in animal feed without adding glucanase and thus simplifying feed enzyme processing.

The study is published at PLOS ONE: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081993.