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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Unconventional Ag Media

Scientists One Step Closer to Making Rapeseed Protein Suitable for Human Consumption

Rapeseed plants utilize bitter defense chemicals called glucosinolates - the same chemicals that give mustard and wasabi their intense spicy flavors - to keep diseases and herbivores at bay.

However, despite rapeseed’s impressive 30-40 percent protein content, it’s these bitter compounds that make the crop unsuitable for human consumption. As a result, rapeseed is only used for oil, animal feed, or biofuel production.

Now, a team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences has identified the three proteins that help transport and store these bitter substances in seeds of thale cress, a close relative of rapeseed. This knowledge can be used to remove these proteins and the resulting bitter taste of rapeseed plants, opening the door to the possibility that the crop can be a new source of plant protein in the green transition.

Having seen success in thale cress, the team noted that it is now working to transfer the process to the closely related rapeseed plant - work made possible by a long-term 10-year grant from the Danish National Research Foundation to the DynaMo Centre at the Faculty of Science’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.


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