Crop Biotech Update

Metabolic Engineering of Soybean Seed Coats

January 6, 2012

Soybean (Glycine max) is a major oil and meal crop with an estimated world production of ca. 255 miliion metric tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since plants could be manipulated to produce proteins that help increase production of biochemicals, then the soybean seed coat has the potential to become a "phytofactory" for the production of important compounds.

Scientist J. A. Schnell of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and colleagues developed transgenic soybeans through particle bombardment. They inserted the genes phbA, phbB, phbC from bacterium Ralstonia eutropha. They also did an assay on production of biochemical polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) in the trasgenic soybean.

Results showed that PHB was produced at an average 0.12% seed coat dry weight with individual values up to 0.36%. These values imply that it is possible to metabolically engineer soybean seed coats.

Read the abstract at http://www.springerlink.com/content/yv37603164576k76/.