Cotton is a widely grown crop, and many people may think of their seeds as a good source of food when they hear their seeds are rich in protein, according tomedia. Unfortunately, they are toxic to humans. But this is not the case with a new variant of the plant.
In general, cotton (including seeds) contains a toxic organic compound, cotton phenol, which helps protect plants from insects and viruses. At the same time, cotton phenol is also toxic to the human red blood cells, people who eat seeds will be anemia and even death.
Thus, although these seeds can be used as a source of cattle feed and cottonseed oil, their use is very limited.
Conventional cotton seeds (left) with new varieties of cotton seeds (right)
A team of researchers at Texas Agricultural and Industrial University, led by Professor Keerti Rathore, is working on the problem, and has genetically engineered a cotton called TAM66274. The modified seeds no longer contain cotton phenol, so it is safe to eat. However, the compound still protects plants from pests. In addition, the plant’s ability to produce cotton fibers will not be affected.
Now, it is hoped that THE TAM66274 will not only provide people around the world with a cheap and abundant source of protein, but also provide farmers with an additional source of income — on the basis that they do not need additional land, water or fertilizer.