Vitamin E find paves way for ‘more nutritious’ maize

Vitamin E content in maize grain could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this crop.

Published: 02nd November 2017 05:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2017 05:41 PM   |  A+A-

Vitamin E content in maize grain could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this crop.


WASHINGTON: Maize, long a staple crop, could soon become more nutritious.

A new research from the Cornell University has identified genes that control vitamin E content in maize grain, a finding that could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this crop.

Researchers combined different types of genetic association analyses to identify 14 genes across the genome that were involved in the synthesis of vitamin E. Six genes were newly discovered to encode proteins that contribute to a class of antioxidant compounds called tocochromanols, collectively known as vitamin E. Along with antioxidant properties, tocochromanols have been associated with good heart health in humans and proper functioning in plants. 
Co-corresponding author Michael Gore revealed that they have established a near-complete foundation for the genetic improvement of vitamin E in grain of maize and other major cereals.

"There has been talk, among breeders working to increase provitamin A in maize, that we could increase vitamin E at the same time," said first author Christine Diepenbrock. 

She added, "They are related compounds biochemically, and tocochromanols are essential for seed viability in that they prevent seed oils from going rancid throughout seed storage, germination and early seedling development."

The study is published in the journal, The Plant Cell.

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