Scientists create plant that produces “breast milk”

  • Scientists engineered a plant so it would produce oil having the same chemical structure as that of the human milk
  • Rothamstead Research said that breast milk remains the best and first choice for infant nutrition
  • The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

HARPENDED, England – A team of scientists from Rothamstead Research made a major breakthrough after creating a plant that produces an oil having the same chemical structure as that of the human milk (the major component of breast milk), New York Post says.

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The breakthrough opens the possibility of a cost-effective copy of human milk for babies as compared to the traditional formula.

Triaclyglycerol, the natural milk fat molecule, allows nutrients to be digested by babies and replicating it from the plant have ground-breaking results.

Some infant formulas at present contain anything like the molecule but the new development have implications for producing better formula that is more quickly absorbed by babies.

Rothamstead Research noted that breast milk remains as the best and first choice for infant nutrition; hence, the team hopes that their research could bring improvement in all grades of formula for babies who need it.

Dr. Peter Eastmond, the lead researcher, said that they have engineered the metabolism of the plant so the oil it produces has the same structure found in milk and not vegetable oil.

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“My hope is that if we can find cheaper methods to produce fat that more closely resembles the structure of human milk fat, then it will be an ingredient more widely used in infant formulas and at a lower cost. It could improve infant formulas in the future,” Dr. Eastmond said.

Rothamstead Research is one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

What do you think about this breakthrough?

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