Trial field with sorghum in Gatton (Queensland, Australia). The paper bags help prevent dissemination of pollen during the flowering season.
Photo: © Georg-August-Universität Göttingen


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Specific genetic expression of an enzyme can enhance the usable energy content of sorghum

An international research team has identified a genetic expression of an enzyme which naturally increases the energy content and starch digestibility of sorghum. The results were published in February 2013 in the journal Nature Communications.
Sorghum is an essential basic food in many regions of Africa because of its resistance to heat and drought. Other varieties of grain are virtually impossible to grow there because of the extreme climatic conditions, or only with extremely low yields. While sorghum grows even under these extreme climatic conditions, it supplies relatively little energy, and is only partly suitable for covering daily energy needs.

The researchers have now identified a naturally-occurring genetic expression of the enzyme pullulanase involved in starch metabolism which improves the digestibility of sorghum and increases its energy content.
Regardless of its genetic background, the identified genetic expression of pullulanase leads to increased digestibility without any negative impact on the growth or yield of the plant.

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