Researchers Make Chicory Plants Without Bitter Compounds Using CRISPR/Cas Method
Researchers have used new breeding techniques to develop a chicory variety that no longer contains bitter compounds. Katarina Cankar, plant researcher at Wageningen University & Research: "In the European CHIC project, we are working on improved industrial chicory varieties (related to witloof) that contain dietary fibre and compounds that have potential medicinal properties." The research consortium published their results in the Plant Biotechnology Journal.
Chicory is a beautiful plant with blue flowers, but the interesting part is in the ground: the chicory taproots are a source of inulin, a natural sweetener that is used in bread and dairy products and as dietary fibre for healthy intestinal function. "Inulin has a positive effect on the digestive health," says Katarina Cankar. "Normally, inulin must be separated from the bitter compounds (that are also in the root) as they cause a bitter taste. With new breeding techniques such as CRISPR-Cas, we have been able to develop a plant that no longer contains those bitter compounds. This will make the processing cheaper and easier, and in turn more sustainable, and will make a broader application of inulin possible."
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About CHIC Project
CHIC is the Chicory Innovation Consortium. Its objective is to implement New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) in chicory in order to establish it as a multipurpose crop for the production of health-related products with clear benefits for consumers and to develop co-innovation pathways with stakeholders for game-changing technologies, such as NPBTs. CHIC will develop four different NPBTs. They will be used to steer bioprocesses in chicory and mobilize its under-explored potential to produce immunomodulatory prebiotics and medicinal terpenes. The conceptually different NPBTs will be assessed with respect to technological potential, risks, regulatory framework, and their socio-economic impacts. This will be done in close consultation with a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) composed of relevant stakeholders in industry and society. For more information, visit our website at chicproject.eu/
IDConsortium is a consultancy firm founded in Seville, Spain, in 2009 with the aim of helping researchers and businesses to internationalise and showcase their R&D by joining international consortiums to pursue different lines of research, development, and innovation. The firm is an offshoot of IDAction S.L., a company with a wide range of experience in managing R&D, innovation, and investment projects. We help promote clusters and sectorial organizations reach their potential at a national and international level. With our experience and involvement in various international innovation projects, we provide strategic advice in the following areas: Industrial Biotechnology, Advanced production systems in Agriculture, Livestock and Aquaculture based on Industry 4.0., and Innovative systems while promoting an active, healthy, and sustainable aging. Visit www.idconsortium.es/ for more information.