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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.

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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)

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Study Says, Limiting Mealtimes Increases Motivation for Exercise

Maintaining a healthy eating routine, with regular mealtimes or fasting, could also encourage motivation for exercise in overweight people

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Exercise
The study suggested that a surge in levels of the appetite-promoting hormone - ghrelin, after a period of fasting prompted mice to initiate voluntary Exercise. PIxabay

Limiting access to food might increase levels of hormone – ghrelin, which might also increase your motivation to exercise, said a new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Endocrinology suggested that a surge in levels of the appetite-promoting hormone – ghrelin, after a period of fasting prompted mice to initiate voluntary exercise.

These novel findings indicate that better diet control, for example limiting food intake to mealtimes or fasting intermittently, could help overweight people maintain a more effective exercise routine, lose weight and avoid debilitating complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

“Our findings suggest that hunger, which promotes ghrelin production, may also be involved in increasing motivation for voluntary exercise when feeding is limited,” said author Yuji Tajiri from the Kurume University in Japan.

“Therefore, maintaining a healthy eating routine, with regular mealtimes or fasting, could also encourage motivation for exercise in overweight people,” Tajiri said.

Exercise
Findings suggest that hunger, which promotes ghrelin production, may also be involved in increasing motivation for voluntary Exercise when feeding is limited. Pixabay

Ghrelin, often referred to as the ‘hunger hormone’, stimulates appetite through actions on the brain reward circuitry that increases motivation to eat.

It has also been reported to be essential for endurance exercise by increasing metabolism to meet the energy demands of prolonged exercise.

Although previous studies have suggested a relationship between ghrelin and exercise, it was not known whether the hormone levels have a direct effect on motivation to exercise.

In this study, the research team investigated the relationship between exercise and the hormone levels in mice.

Food intake and wheel-running activity were compared in mice given free access to food with those fed only twice a day for a limited time.

Although both groups ate a similar amount of food, the restricted mice ran significantly more.

Exercise
Although previous studies have suggested a relationship between ghrelin and exercise, it was not known whether the hormone levels have a direct effect on motivation to Exercise. Pixabay

Mice genetically altered to have no ghrelin and on the restricted feeding diet, ran less than the mice which were given free access, however, this could be reversed by administering the hormone.

Furthermore, mice were given free access to food and given ghrelin also ran significantly more.

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These findings suggest that ghrelin might play an important role in the motivation for both feeding and exercise, in response to restricted eating plans. (IANS)