A team of us is developing new crops that are, due to our efforts, in increasing acreage in Montana. The approach focusses on providing consumers with foods that meet the their nutritional needs, especially those needs of specially challenged consumer groups (diabetes, depression, obesity, gluten intolerance, athletes and vegetarians). Our work is based on coupling human inherited disease genetic information, with plant genetics and with rural cooperatives. A paper outlining the need for a recommitment of agriculture to human nutrition, has been published in September 2006, in Nature Biotechnology.
Objective: develop on average one new nutrition based crop worth $50 million/year for Montana. So far so good. To date we have developed gluten-free Montina, Timtana, and Proatina for people who suffer from wheat intolerance, and a wrinkled pea for diabetes type II.
We also work on Camelina , a new crop that is high in omega-3 oil, hence good for human nutrition. Additionally we work with a plant-associated bacterium that nucleates ice formation, as it may be important in nucleating rainfall. We have also developed a lysine excreting bacterium for bread fermentation in Africa where lysine is inadequate in cereal based diets. We also work on using novel genetic selection methods for microbes to control weeds, including Striga, the worst weed in Africa.
M.Vurro, A. Boari, A.L.Pilgeram, and D.C. Sands.2006. Exogenous amino acids inhihit seed germination and tubercle formation by Orobanche ramose (broomrape): Potential application for management of parasitic weeds. Biological Control 36: 258-265. Available online Nov 2,2005.
Morris, C.E. and D. C. Sands 2006, The breeder’s dilemma: resolving the natural conflict between crop production and human nutrition. Nature Biotechnology: 24: 1078-1080.
Morris C.E., Kinkel L.L., Xiao K., Prior P., Sands D.C. 2006 Surprising niche for the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Infection, Genetics and Evolution).
W. L. Bruckart, III, F. M. Eskandari, M. C. Becktell, D. Bean, J. Littlefield, A. L. Pilgeram, D. C. Sands, and M. C. Aime. Phytopathology. Puccinia acroptili on Russian knapweed in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming