Monday, May 18, 2015

Low-allergen soybean developed

Soybeans (Glycine max), used throughout the food supply to feed humans and livestock, is one of eight foods regulated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.  There are three key proteins which confer allergenic and anti-nutritional properties in soybeans, and now there is a breed which has low-to-zero levels of those proteins.  After the proteins were identified, the researchers genetically engineered the proteins out of the crop.  However, testing of the soybean line was hampered by the transgenic production and due to soybean use in all aspects of food production, especially infant formula.  

After another 10 years of breeding efforts, a non-transgenic, conventionally bred line called "Triple Null" was developed and is going to be tested on swine specifically bred with strong soy allergies.  If the "Triple Null" line is as promising as they hope, this could be an important step in low-allergen food development.

Soybeans (Glycine max) by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,