Wednesday December 19, 2018
Home World Quinona: Sacr...

Quinona: Sacred “mother grain” of Ancient Inca Civilization may be the Grain of Future

Plant scientist Mark Tester of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia said the research pinpointed a gene that guides production of saponins in quinoa

0
//
FILE - A man holds quinoa grains at a marketplace for small- and medium-sized quinoa growers in Challapata, Oruro Department, south of La Paz, Bolivia, April 19, 2014. VOA
Republish
Reprint

Feb 12, 2017: Quinoa, the sacred “mother grain” of the ancient Inca civilization suppressed by Spanish conquistadors, could become an increasingly important food source in the future thanks to genetic secrets revealed in a new study.

Scientists on Wednesday said they have mapped the genome of quinoa and identified a gene that could be manipulated to get rid of the grain’s natural bitter taste and pave the way for more widespread commercial use.

Quinoa already grows well in harsh conditions such as salty and low-quality soil, high elevations and cool temperatures, meaning it can flourish in locales where common cereal crops like wheat and rice may struggle. But the presence of toxic and bitter chemicals called saponins in its seeds has been one of the impediments to extensive cultivation.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Plant scientist Mark Tester of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia said the research pinpointed a gene that guides production of saponins in quinoa.

FILE – Aymara indigenous women grind grains of quinoa in Oruro, Bolivia, in 2013. VOA

This knowledge could enable breeding of quinoa without saponins, to make the seeds sweeter.

Currently, quinoa grain must be processed through washing and drying after harvest to remove saponins.

“Quinoa is currently greatly under-utilized,” said Tester, who led the research published in the journal Nature. “It is highly nutritious, with a high protein content that, importantly, has a very good balance of amino acids, which is unusual for our major grains. It is gluten free and high in vitamins and minerals, too.”

Increased quinoa production could improve food security on a planet with unrelenting human population growth, Tester said.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

There are potential disadvantages to reducing saponins, perhaps increasing susceptibility to fungal infections or bird predation, Tester added.

Quinoa, which boasts a nutty flavor, can be used the same ways as rice and wheat. It can be cooked and served on its own, turned into pasta, put in soups, eaten as a cereal or fermented to make beer or chicha, a beverage of the Andes.

The crop was sacred to the ancient Incas, who called it “chisoya mama,” or the “mother grain.”

During their South American conquest 500 years ago, Spaniards suppressed quinoa cultivation because of its use in indigenous religious ceremonies. They forbade quinoa cultivation for a time, with the Incas forced to grow wheat instead.

Quinoa is still a minor crop globally, grown mostly in Peru and Bolivia. It has become fashionable in the West in recent years, primarily as a health food. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Researchers Develop New Test To Detect E.coli in Food Quickly

The kit has been approved by Health Canada and translated for commercial use

0
Poultry, Produce Industry
Over 80% of UTIs caused by E.coli is found in poultry. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel testing kit that can detect Escherichia coli (E.coli) — a deadly pathogen — much more quickly than existing methods.

The kit detects E. coli 0157, commonly found in ground meat, and is considered more likely to cause severe illnesses than other forms of the bacteria.

The test detects a protein unique to the pathogenic E. coli bacteria and shows results in hours rather than days.

“Our goal is to get the testing to occur as close as possible to the source,” Michael Rieder, Professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said in a statement on Friday.

“This technology is not only faster, but it’s less expensive, it’s easy to use, and it can occur right in the processing plant.”

Food samples to be tested are incubated for a few hours. A sample is then placed on a pad. After 15 minutes, the pad displays one red line to show it worked properly – and a second if the sample contains E. coli O157, the CTV reported.

New test to detect E. coli in food quickly. Pixabay

“It’s very much like a pregnancy test,” Rieder was quoted as saying.

Current food testing methods typically rely on culture, which requires samples to be sent away for testing, with results taking up to two weeks to come back. By that time, the food has often been shipped to markets and large recalls have to occur.

The quicker testing ensures that results are received long before contaminated products make it to the market, thus reducing the risk to the public and the need for large-scale food recalls.

“We are looking at this specific biomarker because it is unique to this pathogenic bacteria.The presence of bacteria itself isn’t bad, but we want to be able to identify specific bacteria that will cause people to get sick,” Rieder said.

Also Read- Taapsee Pannu Feels Disturbed By How Some Communities Are Targeted

“The goal is a safer food chain for everyone so that public safety can be assured.”

The kit has been approved by Health Canada and translated for commercial use. (IANS)