Seed World

Low-Allergen Soybean Could Have High Impact

A decade-long effort by University of Arizona and University of Illinois scientists has yielded a new soybean with significantly reduced levels of three key proteins responsible for both its allergenic and anti-nutritional effects. The work is published online in the journal Plant Breeding.
After nearly a decade of crossbreeding each variety to the soybean reference genome called Williams 82, the team has produced a soybean that lacks most of the P34 and trypsin inhibitor protein, and completely lacks soybean agglutinin. Beyond these characteristics, the soybean is nearly identical to Williams 82. They’ve dubbed the new variety “Triple Null.”
“We think this will be embraced by many, whether they prefer conventional breeding or transgenic methods of food production,” says Monica Schmidt, an assistant professor in the School of Plant Sciences and a member of the BIO5 Institute. “It can be grown organically, with pesticides, and although conventional itself it could be transformed to add other producer or consumer traits.”
In collaboration with scientists at Purdue University, tests are planned to evaluate the efficacy of the low-allergen soybean in swine. The Purdue team has bred a line of swine that develops a strong allergenic response very similar to that of human infants allergic to soybean formula. The swine studies will enable testing of Triple Null and enable new approaches to mitigate soybean allergies in humans.
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