Vegetable oil is known for its benefits. There are many cultures worldwide extracting it successfully from plants.
From lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers find vegetable oil highly significant. But there’s a catch.
This type of oils is usually extracted from seeds or fruits. The procedures, however, represent an issue.
Here is what you need to know.
The Vegetable Oil and Its Fate
Recently, a team of researchers has made quite the discovery. They found an essential way to increase the development of triacylglycerol in plant leaves. Such a method could enable producers to harvest oil from bigger, leafy plants.
Triacylglycerol is the most significant component of vegetable oil.
The team’s work
Researchers utilized a gene-editing tool dubbed CRISPR to examine a family of genes, responsible for controlling fatty acid development in the leaves of Arabidopsis. More about gene-editing and gene drive organisms here.
Jay Thelen is part of the team, and a professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri released a statement about the study. He said:
“[…], we can turn off their cognate genes using CRISPR; […] the plant to produce higher amounts of triacylglycerol in the leaves…”
Prof. Thelen also explained that the new procedure could become very significant. For instance, it could lead to cheaper production of vegetable oils.
Most importantly, we’ll get a dual-use for leafy crops such as soybeans or sorghum.
Sorghum is considered a global source of grain prized thanks to its drought-resistant skills. It has a dual role as a source of vegetable oil, producing an essential crop.
The team aims to understand plant metabolism more and develop other researches. Finding new metabolic constraints will help us to adapt to a warming planet.
Prof. Thelen’s lab is currently in the process of advanced testing the new technique on crops to confirm its accuracy. So, we should expect more information soon.