A comparative study of selected physical and biochemical traits of wild-type and transgenic sorghum to reveal differences relevant to grain quality

Ndimba, Roya J. ; Kruger, Johanita ; Mehlo, Luke ; Barnabas, Alban ; Kossmann, Jens ; Ndimba, Bongani K. (2017)

CITATION: Ndimba, R. J., et al. 2017. A comparative study of selected physical and biochemical traits of wild-type and transgenic sorghum to reveal differences relevant to grain quality. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8:952, doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00952.

The original publication is available at https://www.frontiersin.org

Article

Transgenic sorghum featuring RNAi suppression of certain kafirins was developed recently, to address the problem of poor protein digestibility in the grain. However, it was not firmly established if other important quality parameters were adversely affected by this genetic intervention. In the present study several quality parameters were investigated by surveying several important physical and biochemical grain traits. Important differences in grain weight, density and endosperm texture were found that serve to differentiate the transgenic grains from their wild-type counterpart. In addition, ultrastructural analysis of the protein bodies revealed a changed morphology that is indicative of the effect of suppressed kafirins. Importantly, lysine was found to be significantly increased in one of the transgenic lines in comparison to wild-type; while no significant changes in anti-nutritional factors could be detected. The results have been insightful for demonstrating some of the corollary changes in transgenic sorghum grain, that emerge from imposed kafirin suppression.

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