Engineered pea seeds protect against parasites

September 11, 2009

A breed of pea seeds has been created that contains antibodies against coccidiosis, a disease caused by a parasite that attacks chickens. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biotechnology describe the development of the GM seeds, and demonstrate their effectiveness in preventing this economically important illness.

Sergej Kiprijanov worked with a team of researchers from Novoplant GmbH, Germany, to develop the seeds. He said, "There are a few major issues precluding the use of monoclonal antibodies for passive immunization of chickens against , primarily the costs of antibody production and treatment. Treatment costs are high because antibodies must normally be given intravenously; otherwise they are destroyed in the animal's gut. By expressing the antibodies inside pea seeds, they are protected from this degradation - allowing our system to dramatically reduce treatment costs".

The researchers found that chickens infected with the parasite and allowed to eat the antibody-containing pea seeds, shredded into their feed, were significantly less likely to contract coccidiosis than chickens fed ordinary pea seeds in their fodder. Kiprijanov said, "Compared with methods of active vaccination, the passive immunization strategy described here is an easy and non-invasive method to use in commercial settings. The cost of production is comparatively low, utilizing current agriculture technologies, and the strategy can be used in combination with other antiparasitic agents".

More information: Antibody expressing pea seeds as fodder for prevention of gastrointestinal parasitic infections in chickens; Jana Zimmermann, Isolde Saalbach, Doreen Jahn, Martin Giersberg, Sigrun Haehnel, Julia Wedel, Jeanette Macek, Karen Zoufal, Gerhard Glunder, Dieter Falkenburg and Sergej M Kiprijanov; BMC Biotechnology (in press); www.biomedcentral.com/bmcbiotechnol/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers: Chia seeds are good for you

Related Stories

Introducing 'Orange Bulldog'

May 13, 2008

Move over ‘Longface’, ‘Spooktacular’ and ‘Trickster’ - there’s a new face in the pumpkin patch. Welcome ‘Orange Bulldog’, a new variety of the familiar fall fruit that may soon be available to consumers ...

Recommended for you

How single-celled organisms navigate to oxygen

December 2, 2016

A team of researchers has discovered that tiny clusters of single-celled organisms that inhabit the world's oceans and lakes, are capable of navigating their way to oxygen. Writing in e-Life scientists at the University ...

Mice can smell oxygen

December 2, 2016

The genome of mice harbours more than 1000 odorant receptor genes, which enable them to smell myriad odours in their surroundings. Researchers at the Max Planck Research Unit for Neurogenetics in Frankfurt, the University ...

Natural nomads, leatherback turtles opt to stay in place

December 2, 2016

Endangered leatherback sea turtles are known for their open-ocean migratory nature and nomadic foraging habits – traveling thousands of miles. But a Cornell naturalist and his colleagues have discovered an area along the ...

Neural stem cells serve as RNA highways too

December 1, 2016

Duke University scientists have caught the first glimpse of molecules shuttling along a sort of highway running the length of neural stem cells, which are crucial to the development of new neurons.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.