Breeding soybeans for improved feed

Sep 16, 2011

Modifying soybean seed to increase phosphorus content can improve animal nutrition and reduce feed costs and nutrient pollution. However, further research is needed to commercialize this valuable technology. Knowledge of soybean and other crops such as maize suggest that reducing phytate, the principle storage form of phosphorus in plant tissue, in seeds reduces seed germination and emergence of seedlings in the field. In soybean, however, researchers debate whether this problem exists, and suggest that other factors may be the cause.

New research published in the September-October issue of offers unique insights on the topic. In the study, one modified variety had better seedling field emergence than the control, which had a normal Phosphorus value. The performance of this soybean line, developed by Dr. Joe Burton at the USDA-ARS, is evidence that improved and field emergence of modified Phosphorus soybeans are possible.

"Based on our experience with the North Carolina line, soybean breeders working with the low-phytate trait now know that good seed germination and emergence is an attainable objective," said Dr. Katy Martin Rainy, one of the study's authors. "Our study provides breeders with critical insights on how to do this."

Looking at two sources of the modified trait allowed Dr. Laura Maupin, lead author of this study, to draw conclusions about the specific effect of the modified trait itself. The data reported came from a vast set of 12 different environments, further strengthening the study's conclusions. While the modified soybean varieties did have lower seedling emergence than the control varieties on average, most of the varieties still had more than 70% emergence. The study suggests that the problem with low phytate soybean seeds is due to low vigor seedlings, an issue that is easily addressed through seed treatments.

This data painted a complex picture for soybean breeders throughout the world. Seedling emergence of low phytate soybean varieties must be evaluated with a sufficient amount of data from many different environments. "Progress can be made quickly", said Dr. Rainey, "and we have adopted a strategy of using germination assays, elite parents, seed treatments, multi-environment trials, and markers." The project was funded by the United Soybean Board.

Explore further: A European bear's point of view, finally on film

More information: www.crops.org/publications/cs/articles/51/5/1946

Provided by American Society of Agronomy

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New CSIRO soybean a hit in Japan

Apr 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new soybean variety from CSIRO is gaining popularity in Japan due to its enhanced suitability as an ingredient in traditional Japanese dishes.

Plant soybean early to increase yield

Feb 02, 2009

Over the past decade, two-thirds of Indiana growers have shifted to planting their soybean crop earlier because they believe that earlier planting increases yield. Planting date is probably one of the most important yet least ...

Researchers identify new soybean aphid biotype

Mar 29, 2010

University of Illinois researchers recently identified a new soybean aphid biotype that can multiply on aphid-resistant soybean varieties. Soybean aphids are the No. 1 insect threat to soybean production in the North Central ...

Iron deficiency in soil threatens soybean production

Dec 06, 2010

An expansion of soybean production into areas where soybean has seldom, if ever, been grown can be problematic for some farmers. Soils having high pH values and large amounts of calcium and/or magnesium carbonate are notoriously ...

Recommended for you

Sharks contain more pollutants than polar bears

23 hours ago

The polar bear is known for having alarmingly high concentrations of PCB and other pollutants. But researchers have discovered that Greenland sharks store even more of these contaminants in their bodies.

Moth study suggests hidden climate change impacts

Apr 15, 2014

A 32-year study of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland suggests that scientists may be underestimating the impacts of climate change on animals and plants because much of the harm is hidden from view.

User comments : 0

More news stories

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...