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Crop Biotech Update

Increase in Antioxidant Activity of Soybean using a New Transformation Protocol

August 5, 2011

Soybean is a natural source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as antioxidant protecting the human body from damage caused by highly reactive radicals. The most abundant form of vitamin E in soybean is the gamma tocopherol methyltransferase (γ-TMT). However, the most essential form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol) , which has ten-fold antioxidant activity compared to the other forms. Kijong Lee of Korea's National Academy of Agricultural Science, and colleagues induced overexpression of γ-TMT to develop soybean lines with better α-tocopherol content using an improved transformation system that involves pre-culture of soybean seeds on a specialized medium.

Transformation and inheritance of soybeans with γ-TMT gene were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcriptase PCR, and southern blot analysis. The frequency of soybean transformation increased from 0.5 to 4.3% with the newly adopted system and 13 GM lines with γ-TMT were generated. Alpha tocopherol content was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. Results showed that the overexpression of γ-TMT resulted to 41-fold increase of α-tocopherol compared to the non-transgenic lines.

Read the research paper at http://www.ksabc.or.kr/admin/contribute/journal/kpaper/2011_54_1_37-45.pdf.