“The fact is for every pound of fiber the plant produces 1.65 pounds of seed, and the cotton seed has about 23% protein, and about 21% oil.”
Dr. Keerti rathore is an associate professor at Texas A&M's Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology.
“We can manipulate the genes that direct the production of gossypol in such a way that now the seed does not produce the gossypol, but the gossypol production will be there in the other parts of the plant.”
Genetic engineering triggers oversight from the FDA, EPA, and USDA with testing and studies that could take 10 to 12 years.
“It’s a simple question of just crossing the trait, the plant that we have created with the traditional or commercial varieties.”
And that will be good for cotton farmers.
“Without the gossypol, I think they will get much better value for the seed in the U.S.. In poorer countries, the way I see things is that farmers can sell the fiber, but say get the seed back from the ginning operation, and then either use it directly as a food source, or feed it to the chickens or other animals they keep.”
An average of 44 million metric tons of cotton seed are produced annually.
“And that amount of cotton seed if it can be used directly for food, it can meet the protein requirements of 500 million people.’
And that could help feed the extra 3 billion people expected in the next 50 years. I’m Joe brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.