NNan A. S. Diby, Food and Animal Sciences, Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL, Koffi Konan, Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL and Hortense Dodo, Ngategen Inc., Elizabeth City, NC
Introduction: Plants are the main source of dietary proteins consumed by humans and livestock. However, plant proteins are generally considered as incomplete proteins due to their deficiency in several essential amino acids. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a nutrient-dense legume and a major source of plant protein, with about 24% proteins. Peanut flour is used in formulated foods given as therapeutic foods to aid in famine relief. However, peanut seed proteins are deficient in essential amino acids (EAA) including methionine, threonine, isoleucine and tryptophan. Recent advances in biotechnology offer the prospects of improving the nutritional profile of food crops through genetic engineering, thereby producing high-value products.
Objective: The objective of this study was to enhance the essential amino acid content of peanut, in order to improve its nutritional quality.
Methodology: An Artificial Storage Protein (ASPx) gene encoding a storage protein rich in essential amino acids (methionine, lysine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, valine and phenylalanine) was introduced into peanut via Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer.
Results: Ten (10) independent kanamycin resistant plants were regenerated from transformed peanut hypocotyl cells. The phenotypic characteristics were similar to control non transformed plants. Molecular analysis using PCR and Southern hybridization indicate the stable integration of the ASPx gene in the peanut genome. The presence of the ASPx protein in peanut crude extracts was confirmed by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). These results indicate that the nutritive quality of peanut can be enhanced via biofortification.
Keywords: Biofortification, Essential Amino Acid, Storage protein, Peanut