Monday, October 12, 2020

Emerging Technologies for Plant Protein Quality-Based Supply Chains – US Soy at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum

The Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum is in its second week and is digging deep into a range of topics in the plant protein industry from quality determination to the sensory science of plant proteins.

Join the live session on October 13, Emerging Technologies for Plant Protein Quality-Based Supply Chains – US Soy, to learn from experts and participate in the discussion about emerging technologies for plant protein quality-based supply chains for US Soy. Accurate, affordable and rapid Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) analysis of protein-rich crops like soybeans has been used commercially for 25 years but they often fail to accurately predict the value in use of protein ingredients like soybean meal for the major production livestock markets that soybean serve.  Efforts to enhance NIR systems for predicting protein quality are now underway in the United States soybean industry and are increasingly being used to distinguish and differentiate quality and value in use.  This session at the 2nd Annual Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum will highlight the emerging analytical technologies that are enabling new U.S. soybean supply chains that are based on more robust predictive technologies for protein quality.  In addition, economic considerations using protein quality for identifying and mitigating value at risk in these emerging supply chains will also be presented as a viable model for future commercialization of soy protein ingredients in domestic and global markets.  

Presenter spotlight: Rouf M. Mian, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Soybean Research Unit, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, USA

  • Challenges in breaking the negative relation of seed protein with seed yield and seed oil
  • Advances in simultaneous improvement of soybean seed yield and seed protein
  • Improvement of amino acid profiles of soybean protein and the challenges therein

Meet Dr. Mian

1) What discoveries from your previous research inform the work you plan to discuss at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum? 
The low seed protein content and less than optimum balance of some essential amino acids are major problems of current U.S. commercial soybean varieties. The protein content of U.S. commercial soybean seed has been declining for decades and is on a path to decline to 33.7% (45.6% meal protein) by 2030. Decades of breeding focused on increased yield with little attention to protein has resulted in decreased protein content in U.S. soybean. The lower protein content of soybean puts U.S. growers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. Although increased yield is associated with reduced seed protein, the negative correlation between the two is not absolute. Scientific evidence shows that soybean breeders have the opportunity for meaningful (2-3%) increases in seed protein without yield loss. This opportunity is due in large part to the treasure trove of genetic diversity in seed protein that exists in the exotic soybean accessions preserved in the USDA Collection.

2) What is the significance of the research you plan to discuss at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum, either for future research routes or for real-world applications? 
A 1% increase in seed protein without reducing seed oil or seed yield can increase the value of the U.S. soybean crop by nearly US $3 billion and may also increase the demand of U.S. soybean in the international market.

3) Describe the biggest problem you encountered and solved during your most recent project?  
The negative correlation of soybean seed protein with seed yield was the biggest problem. We have partially solved this problem and made significant progress in reducing the negative impact of seed protein on seed yield.

4) Share a turning point or defining moment in your work as a scientist and/or industry professional. 
A defining moment in my most recent research would be the development of soybean cultivars (e.g., Highpro1) with higher seed protein without corresponding loss in seed yield. 

5) What excites you about your work? 
Soybean ranks second only to corn in U.S. row crops with an annual value of nearly US $40 billion and 70% of the value of soybean comes from the soybean meal (the protein by-product after extraction of oil). As mentioned above, small improvements in seed protein may have a huge impact on the crop’s value.

6) What are potential future directions for the work you are discussing at the Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum? 
Future directions for this work include sharing the products (cultivars, germplasm, genes, molecular markers) of our research group with the private sector breeders, producers, processors of the poultry-livestock-aquaculture industry. Following up with feeding studies would be another potential development in this project, which would be a logical step for our research achievements to benefit society.

7) What do you like to do when you are not in the lab or presenting at meetings? 
Gardening, walking and hiking are some of my hobbies.

This session is on October 13, but there are more high-quality sessions scheduled throughout the month of October. Find out more about the full technical program.

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