In the United States, 2% of grown-ups and nearly 7% of kids suffer from a food allergy. Annually, these allergies cost individuals time spent away from work or school and $25 billion in health care. In addition to this, some individuals develop serious complications from their allergies that may sometimes result in death.
It’s important to discover ways to reduce the distress caused by food allergies. Companies that process food have already gone the extra mile to indicate ingredients on product labels to help people avoid items they may be allergic to. However, it may be possible to instead but what find a way to reduce the chance of triggering an allergic reaction to a specific food.
This is what Eliot Herman is working on. Throughout his whole career, Herman has been studying why plants trigger allergic reactions and how we can decrease the chance of an allergic reaction being set off. He recently presented his work at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting last year and is a member of the Crop Science Society of America.
Herman, who is a professor of plant sciences at the University of Arizona, explained that by modifying food and treating individuals who are sensitive to food allergies, we can improve the lives of those individuals and influence the nation’s total medical expenditure.
Herman’s study centered specifically on soybeans, as soybean allergies mostly affect infants and children. Additionally, the presence of soybean products such as protein and oil in innumerable food products makes it impossible to avoid.
Herman discovered earlier in his career that soybeans made particular proteins that caused most soybean allergies. This led him to devote his work to learning more about this protein, understanding why it initiated an allergic reaction and how its presence could be decreased in the crop.
He employed the use of animal model, in particular pigs, in his research as they sometimes have a soybean allergy that exhibits in the same way as that of people. Together with a team of researchers, Herman bred pigs that were extra sensitive to soybeans. These pigs were used to test out new crops that were developed without the soybean’s allergenic proteins.
Herman then collaborated with DuPont company and, through the use of genetic engineering, managed to produce a GMO soybean line that did not have the allergenic protein. With the demand for a non-GMO substitute on the rise, Herman then worked with his colleagues to find a soybean collection that did not make the allergenic protein naturally.
The researchers then crossed that soybean line with other common soybeans, which led to the creation of a productive, new soybean with decreased allergic sensitivity. Herman noted that decreasing allergens of soybeans would help provide a positive medical outcome for both animals and humans.
Still on the subject of plants, MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) (OTCQB: MGROF) (FRA: 0C0) relies on its proprietary technology to tap the mustard seed’s protective abilities in order to develop products, which eliminate the use of synthetic chemicals during the growth cycle of crops.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) (OTCQB: MGROF) (FRA: 0C0) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/MGROF
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