October 21, 2019


FDA approves ultra-low gossypol cottonseed for animal feed


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ultra-low gossypol cottonseed, ULGCS, to be used as human food and in animal feed, which Texas A&M AgriLife researchers have been studying for nearly 25 years, the High Plains Journal reported.


Keerti Rathore, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist in the Texas A&M Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology and Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, College Station, and his team have developed, tested and obtained deregulation for the transgenic cotton plant, TAM66274.


TAM66274 is a unique cotton plant with ultra-low gossypol levels in the seed, which makes the protein from the seeds safe to consume, but also maintains normal plant-protecting (toxic) gossypol levels in the rest of the plant, making it ideal for the traditional cotton farmer.


Patrick Stover, Ph.D., vice-chancellor and dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of AgriLife Research, said, "This demonstrates how we can make a difference in enhancing the nutritional quality of the food system for those in greatest need, while enhancing the profitability of agriculture production."


"Our goal is to advance sustainable agriculture in Texas and around the world, and this new protein source is yet another step in that direction."


If adopted by the cotton growers worldwide, ULGCS has the potential to make a significant impact on nutrition security, particularly in the poor, cotton-growing countries, Rathore said.


"The amount of protein locked up in the annual output of cottonseed worldwide is about 10.8 trillion grams," he said. "That is more than what is present in all the chicken eggs produced globally, and enough to meet the basic protein requirements of over 500 million people."


Till now, the ability to utilise protein-rich cottonseed for feed for monogastrics was not possible because of the presence of the toxic substance, gossypol, Rathore added.


The research was funded by Cotton Inc. and AgriLife Research.


Kater Hake, Ph.D., vice president of agricultural and environmental research at Cotton Inc., said that the next step, is to get cotton farmers and the industry around the world to begin growing and marketing the special variety.