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Iowa Staters talk biofuels, healthy oils and 'pharma crops' at AAAS meeting
Date:2/16/2008

g whether producing medicines and chemicals in non-food crops is more economical and less risky than using food crops. Wisner also noted several instances when unapproved genetically modified crops were found in food supplies. In those instances, Wisner said there were major disruptions in grain export markets, price impacts and very high public and private costs to purge the grain from the food system.

Linda Pollak, a research geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a collaborative associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State, addressed a 90-minute symposium on Saturday, Feb. 16, titled, Crops for Health: Improving the Health-Promoting Properties of Food.

Pollaks message was that traditional plant breeding can be a tool to improve human health. Plant breeders, for example, have been able to reduce some of the problems with oils from soybeans, canola, sunflowers and corn. She said plant breeders have developed soybeans with lower levels of fatty acids to help reduce trans fats after processing. Breeders have also developed canola lines with safe levels of toxic erucic acid. And plant breeders have decreased saturated fats and increased monounsaturated fats in canola, sunflower and corn oils to reduce the risk of heart disease. And so Pollak argued traditional plant breeding can still develop better crops for healthier foods.


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Contact: Mike Krapfl
mkrapfl@iastate.edu
515-294-4917
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

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