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Farmers To Grow Modified Cotton With Its Seed Edible

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant

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Cotton
An experimental cotton plant is shown at a Texas A&M research facility in this handout image provided by the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station, Texas, U.S. VOA

U.S. regulators have cleared the way for farmers to grow a cotton plant genetically modified to make the cottonseed edible for people, a protein-packed potential new food source that could be especially useful in cotton-growing countries beset with malnutrition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Tuesday lifted the regulatory prohibition on cultivation by farmers of the cotton plant, which was developed by Texas A&M University scientists. The plant’s cottonseed cannot be used as food for people or as animal feed yet in the United States because it lacks Food and Drug Administration approval.

Cotton
Cotton plant. pixabay

Cotton is widely grown around the world, with its fiber used to make textiles and the cottonseed used among other things to feed animals such as cattle and sheep that have multiple stomach chambers. Ordinary cottonseed is unfit for humans and many animals to eat because it contains high levels of gossypol, a toxic chemical.

With financial help from a cotton industry group, scientists led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore used so-called RNAi, or RNA interference, technology to “silence” a gene, virtually eliminating gossypol from the cottonseed. They left gossypol at natural levels in the rest of the plant because it guards against insects and disease.

“To me, personally, it tastes somewhat like chickpea and it could easily be used to make a tasty hummus,” Rathore said of gossypol-free cottonseed.

After cottonseed oil, which can be used for cooking, is extracted, the remaining high-protein meal from the new cotton plant can find many uses, Rathore said.

Cotton
If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people. Pixabay

It can be turned into flour for use in breads, tortillas and other baked goods and used in protein bars, while whole cottonseed kernels, roasted and salted, can be consumed as a snack or to create a peanut butter type of paste, Rathore added.

If all of the cottonseed currently produced worldwide were used for human nutrition, it could meet the daily protein requirements of about 575 million people, Rathore said.

Other countries would have to give regulatory approval for the new cotton plant to be grown, though U.S. regulatory action often is taken into consideration.

Also Read: Food Cooked on The Barbecue Can Impair Your Lungs

The new cottonseed’s biggest commercial use may be as feed for poultry, swine and farmed aquatic species like fish and shrimp, Rathore said.

Many of the world’s roughly 80 cotton-producing countries, especially in Asia and Africa, have populations that face malnutrition that could be addressed with the new plant, Rathore added. (VOA)

Next Story

Like Food, One Constantly Craves New Flavours in Music

"What you put in your mouth has to taste good that’s all. What you put in your ears has to sound good — it’s that simple,” he signed off

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music
Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. VOA

By Siddhi Jain

Sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee, known for his fusion work with Western and Indian classical music, feels that the art form is very much like food and the Indian classical music is not as rigid as it is thought to be.

For Purbayan, 43, whose sitar playing is rooted in the Senia Maihar gharana’s blend of dhrupad and khayal, Indian classical music is ever-evolving.

“Indian classical music can be compared to a Rubik’s cube made of a gelatinous matrix. There’s a complex structure which sits in the midst of infinite elasticity. Hindustani classical music itself is an amalgam of ancient dhrupad and Persian elements,” Chatterjee told IANS in an email interview.

A disciple of his father Parthapratim Chatterjee, the musician has performed as part of the groups Shastriya Syndicate and Stringstruck.

He also calls himself “truly privileged and humbled” because the instrument of sitar — that has been in the hands of legendary artistes like Pt. Ravishankar, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Ustad Vilayat Khan — has chosen him.

“The sitar is my voice. It is an extension of my limbs.”

Asked about the World Music Day that fell on June 21, the young musician said that he’d love to have it pronounced “World-Music Day” since the music of the entire world has only three elements — melody, rhythm and harmony.

thai foods
Thai foods are naturally an excellent source of a multitude of health beneficial sources of food, primarily due to the vast utilization of different vegetables and herbs in almost all their dishes. Pixabay

“The more we respect and recognise that, the more the boundaries will disappear,” he explained.

As far as his future projects are concerned, Purbayan said: “I am currently working on expanding my classical repertoire to include lesser-heard ragas in instrumental music like Lalita-Gauri. I am also recording and shooting in 4K compositions of great masters like Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib and Pt Nikhil Banerjee.

“Also being put up on my YouTube channel are some collaborations with whiz-kids of today, like Rhythm Shaw, Shikharnaad Qureshi, Jazim Sharma, Sumedha karmahe, Pratibha Singh Baghel, Rickraj and also with Gayathri — my wife who’s a very versatile artist”.

Also Read- Future of The World Lies in Hands of Children, Says Actress Priyanka Chopra

The Kolkata-based instrumentalist, who is also a vocalist and has performed in duet with music director Shankar Mahadevan, was set to perform in an HCL Concert here on Friday, alongside musical artistes Rakesh Chaurasia, Fazal Qureshi and Gino Banks.

Answering a question about his taste in fusion music, Purbayan likened music to food. “As a citizen of a rapidly shrinking global village, one constantly craves new flavours and aromas.

“What you put in your mouth has to taste good that’s all. What you put in your ears has to sound good — it’s that simple,” he signed off. (IANS)