A novel antihypertensive peptide in rice: IHRF

rice on wooden spoonA relatively “easy” way of treating hypertension is a change in diet. This is due to, in part, the bioactive peptides with antihypertensive activity in various food proteins that are released during digestion. In this context, Arg-Phe (RF) is the molecule with the most potent vasorelaxing effect to date. Dr. Kousaku Hinata and colleagues from the Graduate School of Agriculture at the Kyoto University investigated whether there were more peptides containing the RF sequence with similar features. In their study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research the team focused on protease hydrolysate of rice glutelin and discovered a new tetrapeptide: Ile-His-Arg-Phe (IHRF). In further experiments with spontaneous hypertensive rats the group demonstrated that IHRF is even more potent and persisted longer after oral administration than RF. To understand the mechanism of the antihypertensive activity of IHRF and to get to know more of the peptide’s features read the article online. / Maresa Groten

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See article online: Kontani N. et al. Characterization of Ile-His-Arg-Phe, a novel rice-derived vasorelaxing peptide with hypotensive and anorexigenic activities. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2013

For more articles on Molecular Nutrition and Food Research


Prize potatoes: Engineering super spuds


Image courtesy of: net_efekt

The humble potato is one of the most important food crops in the world, providing over 1 billion people with their staple food source. In fact, the potato is so important that the UN made 2008 the Year of the Potato! Research into making mighty spuds is therefore critical to addressing global food supply challenges, which is fortunate as the potato is also highly amenable to cell culture. A review in Plant Biotechnology Journal (P. J. Barrell et al., The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited) covers a broad spectrum of landmark research and future approaches to genomics in potatoes. Topics range from transformation, whereby single genes are added to potatoes, methods of associating phenotype with genotype, and the recent determination of the potato genome sequence.

It is hoped that such research will enhance our ability to select the pick of the crop for future potato breeding, resulting in better taters for all! /Owain Jevons

Barrell, P. J. Applications of biotechnology and genomics in potato improvement. Plant Biotechnol. J. 2013.

Related reading: Translational Genomics for Crop Breeding by Rajeev Varshney



Posted in Biotechnology, Food | Tagged BiotecVisions, genomics, plant breeding | Leave a reply

Phenol production in bacteria?

Phenol is an important commodity chemical because of its role as the precursor molecule for many widely used chemicals. Currently, phenol is produced from non-renewable fossil fuels. Given the rapidly depleting supplies of such fuels, an alternative source of phenol is eagerly sought.

At first glance, “phenol production in bacteria” appears to be a paradoxical term, given the toxicity of phenol to microorganisms. A challenge, however, is what drives human endeavor and achievement, as exemplified by the latest research from Prof. Sang Yup Lee’s group at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. In their paper published in Biotechnology Journal, Prof. Lee’s group use synthetic regulatory RNA technology to specifically knockdown genes in Escherichia coli, which in turn led to the increased production of tyrosine, the immediate precursor of phenol. Then, they introduced an enzyme to further convert tyrosine to phenol. The engineered strain had a final phenol titer and productivity of 3.79 g/L and 0.18 g/L/h, respectively, which is the highest titer achieved by microbial fermentation to date. Read the article online to see how Prof. Lee’s group were able to “coax” E. coli into producing phenol.

Source: Kim, B. et al. Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for the production of phenol from glucose. Biotechnol. J. 2013.

Related: Biotechnology Journal‘s special issue on “Metabolic Modeling and Simulation“, edited by Prof. Diethard Mattanovich and Prof. Vassily Hatzimanikatis