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Soybean grant gives researchers tools to unravel better bean
Date:11/20/2008

re shelves, soybeans may seem like the perfect plant. It can be made into tofu and its synthetic meat products. However, the bean's protein is not balanced to the 21 amino acids humans need for a healthy diet. In addition, soybean oil contains trans fats after it's processed.

On the agricultural side, an improved soybean variety would allow farmers to plant a crop that produces more soybeans using the same amount of land. And with soybean plants that are disease and insect resistant, farmers wouldn't have to apply as much money-draining pesticides.

Farmers could also grow varieties that produce more oil or more protein.

"Genome sequencing and gene discovery is starting to open a new, exciting era for us," Parrott said.

It's a good time for soybeans. Since 1982, the U.S. has had a 15 percent increase in total soybean production.

"Acreage-wise, soybeans are among the top three crops in the United States," Parrott said. "It's the No. 1 source of vegetable oil and vegetable protein. In that regard, it's the most important of the crops."

Soybeans are used for adhesives, alternative fuels, disinfectants, plastics, salad dressings, particleboard, candy, cookies and swine feed, to name a few. "It just boggles the mind that it lends itself to so many different uses," Parrott said. "It's even in furniture care products."


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Contact: Stephanie Schupska
schupska@uga.edu
706-542-8981
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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