BIOTECHNOLOGY AT-A-GLANCE

International Issues |  Heart Health |  Human Health |  Being Green |  Pipelines

The following is an overview of agricultural biotechnology's role in increasing the global food supply, improving human health and heart health in particular, and promoting environmental sustainability. This is a resource for media, consumers and for health professionals to use in teaching patients/clients about the benefits and safety of biotechnology for food production.

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INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

 

  • Crops improved through biotechnology produce higher yields worldwide - while using less land and water - to help feed a hungry and growing world.
  • Biotechnology holds great promise for increasing the world's food supply and improving the quality of that food.
  • It is estimated that 800 million people around the world suffer from chronic food shortages, and millions more could go hungry due to current and future food crises.
  • 25,000 people die from hunger daily and a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition or starvation
  • Farmers earn higher incomes in every country where biotech crops are grown. Worldwide, biotech crops have increased farmer incomes by an estimated $4.8 billion to $6.5 billion in a single year, with most gains experienced by farmers in the developing world.


For more detailed information download the Biotechnology & International Issues PDF



HEART HEALTH

 

  • While we can't control risk factors like a family history of heart disease, we can take control of other risk factors such as diet and exercise.
  • In 2006, 424,892 Americans died of coronary heart disease (CHD) (about 20 percent of all deaths in the U.S.), making CHD the number one killer of Americans.
  • Scientists are using biotechnology to increase the heart-healthy omega-3s in soybean oil - a land-based, renewable resource that food manufacturers will be able to add into a wide range of food products from breakfast bars and yogurts to salad dressings.
  • Biotechnology also helps food companies create food products with less of the fats that consumers should limit or avoid for a healthy heart: trans fat and saturated fat.


For more detailed information download the Biotechnology & Heart Health PDF
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HUMAN HEALTH

 

  • Biotech food products derived are exhaustively assessed for safety before their introduction into the food marketplace.
  • Humans have been using biotechnology - whether they called it that or not - for more than 10,000 years. That's how humans first developed cheese, bread, wine and beer.
  • The next generation of biotech foods is building in direct benefits to consumer nutrition, such as a high-isoflavone soybean, which could help deliver soy's many benefits without people having to dramatically increase the amount of soyfoods they eat.


For more detailed information download the Biotechnology & Human Health PDF


BEING GREEN

 

  • Crops derived from agricultural biotechnology significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the environment - the equivalent of removing 6.56 million cars from the roads for one year.
  • Additionally, biotechnology results in better soil health and conservation, improved water retention/decreased soil erosion and decreased herbicide runoff from fields into streams.
  • Biotech crops have helped farmers eliminate 379 million pounds of pesticide applications globally.


For more detailed information download the Biotechnology & Being Green PDF
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BIOTECH TRAITS PIPELINES: AGRONOMIC AND QUALITY/FOOD

 

Agronomic Traits
Agronomic Traits
Quality/Food
Quality/Food
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGRONOMIC TRAITS BENEFITS


  • Liberty Link. Tolerant to Ignite and Liberty (glufosinate) herbicide.
  • RR2Y. New version of Round Up (glyphosate) resistant plants with predicted higher yields, compared to the original Round Up Ready soybeans.
  • Imidazolinone Tolerant. Imidazolinone is a broad-spectrum herbicide.
  • GAT (Glyphosate ALS Tolerance). The GAT trait is aimed at achieving both glyphosate and ALS crop safety.
  • Glyphosate and isoxaflutole tolerance. Both herbicides are broad spectrum. Technology developed by Bayer and MS Technologies.
  • Bt/RR2Y. Bt technology stacked with glyphosate tolerance. This is being commercialized only in Brazil.
  • Low Raff-Stach. Raffinose and stachyose are anti-nutritional oligosaccharides for non-ruminant animals. Decreasing levels of these two compounds may result in a more digestible feed component.
  • Herbicide tol: 2,4-D and "fop"(aryloxyphenoxypropionate) herbicides. Offers broadleaf tolerance 2,4-D and tolerance to grasses via "fop" herbicides.
  • Dicamba Tolerant. Wide broadleaf weed spectrum including glyphosate-tolerant weeds.
  • HPPD Tolerant. Inhibition of this enzyme results in wide spectrum weed control.
  • Higher Yield. Heritable yield continues to be a valued trait for soybean producers.
  • Rust. Transgenic resistance and/or tolerance to Asian Soybean Rust.
  • Disease Resistant. Breeding and transgenics may be used to increase resistance to diseases such as aphids, Asian Soybean Rust and other soybean diseases.
  • Nematode Resistance. Monsanto intends to stack SCN resistance with RR2Y.

Source: Pipeline from Industry Sources; prepared by ASA, USSEC, USB. Updated January, 2010. 


For more detailed information download the Agronomic and Quality/Food Traits PDF

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QUALITY/FOOD TRAITS BENEFITS

 

  • High Oleic. Oil made from these beans is an alternative to partially hydrogenated oils for edible applications where increased stability, no hydrogenation and a lower trans fat content is desired.
  • low linolenic. Oil made from these beans reduces the need for hydrogenation. Foods cooked in this oil have low to no trans fat, increased oxidative stability, good end product flavor and excellent shelf life characteristics.
  • High Oleic/Low-Saturates. The high oleic content provides an alternative to partially hydrogenated oils. The lower saturated fat component is designed to further reduce cardiovascular health risk.
  • High Beta-Conglycinin. Increased levels of this protein provide greater emulsion stability, useful for protein containing drinks. They may also provide physiological benefits of lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Low Phytate. Soybean meal from these beans will contain a more digestible form of phosphorus, reducing phosphate pollution from animal agriculture. Increased bioavailability of several minerals (i.e. zinc, iron) and may be used to alleviate human nutritional deficiencies in some developing countries.
  • Omega-3, Stearidonic Acid. This omega-3 fatty acid can help protect people from heart disease. It is readily converted to EPA and to a lesser extent DHA. These oils are typically found in fish, but with decreasing fish supplies and increasing cost, an alternative plant derived source of this important fatty acid is desirable.
  • High-Stearate. This viscous oil is a healthier solution for food products requiring solid fat such as margarines and shortenings. Stearate is a saturated fatty acid, but has a lower impact on blood cholesterol levels than other saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid.
  • Processing: High Oil Soy. These beans may be economically advantageous due to their higher oil content.
  • Low-Saturate. Decreased level of saturated fat aimed at reducing cardiovascular health risk.
  • Feed: High Protein Soybean. Increased meal quality with a reduced need to add synthetic amino acids to feed rations or increase possibility of using full-fat soybean rather than meal. Soybean with better digestibility can increase food energy and decrease pollutants.
  • High Oleic, Stearate. The high oleic/high stearicoils will be stable oils with added functionality for the preparation of many foods where a certain amount of solids are needed.
  • Modified 7S Protein FF. Reduction of this protein is predicted to reduce human allergenicity to soy protein. In addition it may be a preferred meal ingredient for aquaculture feed particularly for salmonids.
  • Omega-3 EPA/DHA. EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids that can help protect people from heart disease. These oils are typically found in fish. With decreasing fish supplies and increasing cost, an alternative plant derived source of this important fatty acid is desirable.

Source: Pipeline from Industry Sources; prepared by ASA, USSEC, USB. Updated January, 2010.

For all detailed information, download the overview of agricultural biotechnology's role in improving human health PDF
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