Super seeds are the future of resilient food, according to Swedish scientists.
Agricultural cooperative Lantmännen’s says plant breeding may be one of the single biggest factors as agriculture attempts to reach climate change goals.
Lantmännen, which translates as “The farmers”, is made up more than 19,000 Swedish farmers.
Its members operate across over 20 countries and they share an annual turnover of more than €4.5 billion.
One of its arms specialises in molecular farming, an emerging science that enables the synthesis of real animal proteins’ DNA in any seed crop.
By carefully selecting each protein, scientists can affect taste, texture and nutritional value among a range of other traits.
The results, it is claimed, are ingredients that make food tastier, affordable and more functional – and free of animal protein.
Lantmännen has set up a ‘breeding department’ at its plant in Svalöv, Sweden, where it is developing future crops at speed.
Leaf samples are taken regularly and DNA checked routinely to monitor development.
Its subsidiary firm, Crop Tailor, then takes the process on in its cultivation chambers, using advanced lab technology and computer power.
“We are focusing on cereals, forage crops and field legumes, mainly,” said Dr Alf Ceplitis, group manager of population improvement at Crop Tailor.
“Regarding nutritional factors, we are currently working on raising the beta glucan levels and protein content in oats.”
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