Crop Biotech Update

UI Scientists Says Slimming Soybeans are on the Horizon

April 8, 2010

Eating a lot of soybean with high beta conglycinin could be the key to prevent obesity and fast track the slimming process. This is the message of a study conducted in the University of Illinois-Urbana by associate professor of food science and human nutrition Elvira de Mejia. The research article which appeared in the FEBS Journal reports that soy with high beta-conglycinin results to lower lipid accumulation and inflammation in a test conducted to human fat cells.

The amount of accumulated fat was measured after treatment with soy hydrolates from 15 soy genotypes of various amounts of beta-conglycinin. Further tests showed that the activity of the fatty acid synthase - a lipid synthesizing enzyme was suppressed, as well as the synthesis of adiponectin, a hormone that enhances insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism. Soybean breeders can focus on the development of soybean varieties which contain the ‘slimming' traits once molecular markers are developed for these traits.

The first study authored by Cristina Martinez-Villaluenga and Vermont P. Dia of the University of Illinois, Mark Berhow of the Agricultural Research Service, and Neal A. Bringe appeared in a recent issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. The study that identifies the specific peptides and the mechanism by which they inhibit fatty acid synthase appears in FEBS Journal 277:1481—1493, 2010. Co-authors are the U of I's Cristina Martinez-Villaluenga, Sanjeewa G. Rupasinghe, and Mary A. Schuler.

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