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EUROPE: RESEARCHERS DEVELOP SAFER ANIMAL FEED - TOXIN-FREE OILSEED RAPE

Date : 29 August 2012

Oilseed rape contains glucosinolate which makes the crop unsuitable for livestock feed. A team of EU-funded researchers from Denmark, Germany and Spain has developed a new method to keep the unwanted toxins from getting into the edible parts of the plant. Researchers Meike Burow from the University of Copenhagen and Ingo Dreyers from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid published in the journal Nature the potential for toxin-free oilseed rape as a feed crop.

Co-author Barbara Ann Halkier from the University of Copenhagen says, "We have developed an entirely new technology that we call ‘transport engineering'. It can be used to eliminate unwanted substances from the edible parts of crops. We managed to find two proteins that transport glucosinolates into the seeds of the thale cress plant, a close relative of the oilseed rape. When we subsequently produced thale cress without these two proteins, the remarkable result was that their seeds were completely free of glucosinolates and thus suitable for feed.'