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Have you had your cereal today?

Posted on June 21, 2013

Cereals are grasses that produce grains, the bulk of our food supply. Carnegie’s Plant Biology Department is releasing genome-wide metabolic complements of several cereals including rice, barley, sorghum, and millet. Along with corn, whose metabolic complement was released previously, these species are responsible for producing over 1.5 billion tons of grains annually world-wide. Understanding how these important species harness sunlight to grow and produce seeds will help researchers improve crop yields, combat world hunger, and produce biofuel that could lower fuel costs and perhaps fight climate change.

The databases are designed to help researchers gain a detailed, genome-scale view of the chemical reactions that define a plant’s metabolic life. This includes activities such as converting carbon dioxide and sunlight into chemical energy, transporting nutrients from the soil, and responding to the environment. All of the databases and data can be searched, browsed, or downloaded from the Plant Metabolic Networkproject website.

“We are trying to understand how the metabolic systems of plants are organized, function and evolve so that we and others can ultimately engineer a variety of different plants,” says program leader Seung Yon Rhee. “This degree of across-the-board knowledge about the enzymes, biochemical pathways, and regulatory networks that control a plant’s metabolism is necessary for meeting the ever-expanding demand for production of food, biofuel and phyto-pharmaceuticals.”

Read more at: Phys.org

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