Input versus Output Biotech Crop Traits: How Does the Consumer Benefit? Ed Cahoon Center for Plant Science Innovation Department of Biochemistry firstname.lastname@example.org
Biotech crops are major components of the agricultural economy of the United States and portions of the developed and developing world (but not Europe) United States: Biotech crops—50% of total crop production, 93% of soybean production Worldwide: Biotech crops-77% of soybean and 50% of cotton production But where are the improved food and feed products?
Biotechnology offers tools that when used together with plant breeding can improve crop production and qualities of crops Biotech crops are generated by insertion of genes and/or genetic elements into host plants The resulting “transgenic” crops are then bred into the top performing germplasm to achieve optimal production in specific geographic regions.
Biotech Crop Traits Are Categorized Largely as Input or Output Traits Input Traits: Agronomic traits that improve crop production and/or reduce production costs Examples: drought tolerance, insect resistance, herbicide resistance. Primary benefactors: Farmers Output Traits: Traits that improve the quality of products derived from crops. Examples: enhanced human and livestock nutrition, improved industrial properties. Primary benefactors: Processors and consumers.
Nearly All of the Economically Significant Biotech Crops are Engineered with Input Traits Insect Resistance: Crop are typically engineered with genes for Bt Cry proteins for resistance to lepidopteran insects, such as European corn borer. Crops: corn, cotton, rice (China) Herbicide Resistance: Crop are engineered with genes for novel essential enzymes that are resistant to herbicide inhibition or detoxify herbicides. Crops: soybean, corn, cotton, rapeseed, sugar beet Virus Resistance: Crop are typically engineered with genes for virus coat proteins to confer resistance to specific viruses. Crops: papaya, squash
Nebraska’s Contribution to Input Biotech Traits
Do Input Traits Benefit Consumers? Yes….but not directly. *Input biotech traits contribute to the maintenance of a ready source of food at affordable prices. *Crops engineered for resistance to insects typically have less pesticide residues. *Improved environment: Reduced soil erosion World Vegetable Oil Consumption from reduced soil tillage with herbicide resistant crops. *Reduced impact on natural resources: Reduced use of fuel for application of pesticides and cultivation. Future: Reduced fertilizer and water use.Lu et al. (2011) Current Op. Biotechnol.
Where are the Output Traits for Consumers?Flavr Savr Very few output traits have received regulatory approval. Examples: Amflora Potato delayed ripening tomatoes high oleic soybean (healthy oil) industrial starch potatoes (Europe) GLA safflower (healthy oil) Are consumers willing to pay a premium for biotech nutritionally enhanced/better tasting foods?Large companies are reducing investments in output trait development. An opportunity for small companies/niche markets?
Can Input and Output Biotech Traits Improvethe Human Condition in the Developing World? Little or no biotech crops in Sub-Saharan Africa: An opportunity for improved production and improved food quality?Input Traits: Pest and drought resistance traits can improve crop production. Do opportunities exist for output traits?
Enhanced Nutrition Traits: The Case of Biotechnology for Provitamin A Biofortification Golden Rice 1 Golden Rice 2 Golden RiceVitamin A deficiency is prevalent in the developing world and contributes to blindness and weakened immune systems.
Healthy Traits for the Developing World: Does Plant Biotechnology Have a Role?Grand Challenges in Global Heath: Challenge 9 (GC9)Goal: Improve the nutritional status of the major staple crops of thedeveloping world.Focus: iron, zinc, provitamin A, vitamin E, and protein biofortification Target Crops: Sorghum Cassava Rice Banana
Cassava Biofortification Cassava (Manihot esculenta) - yucca, manihot, tapioca Most important source of calories in the tropics after rice and maize Vegetatively propagated: limited gene flow Grown in 100 tropical countries on a total of 160 million hectares Eaten daily by 600 million people Poor source of micronutrients
Cassava As a Balanced Nutritional Crop has Unique ChallengesNot only is it deficient in iron, zinc, provitamin A, vitamin E, and protein…… It is has major production and distribution problems in Africa*Highly susceptible to viruses *Roots rot quickly through the process of physiological post-harvest deterioration (PPD) *Accumulates cyanogenic compounds Goal: Combine nutritional traits with traits that enhance the production and distribution of cassava to improve the likelihood of acceptance in sub-Saharan Africa
Vitamin A Deficiency is a Major Public Health Problem in Sub-Saharan Africa Nigeria: 60% of children have VitA deficiency Goal: Increase provitamin A (β-carotene) concentrations by 10-fold in cassava storage roots.
Development of Golden Cassava with Improved Shelf Life
Field testing at the National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, NigeriaFirst permit for a confinedfield trial of a transgenic crop in Nigeria Field testing planned for KARI, Kenya in late 2010 Next Phase: Product Concept (output + input traits) Stack of Provitamin A trait with a Second Nutritional Trait in a Farmer-Preferred Cassava Variety with Virus Resistance