Molecular Mechanisms of Inositol and Inositolhexakisphosphate Metabolism in Barley and Wheat Seed
The objective of this project is to improve the understanding of phosphorous storage and use in wheat and barley seeds. Approximately 75% of the phosphorous in wheat and barley seeds is in the form of phytic acid, which makes the phosphorous unavailable in diets of humans, poultry, swine, and fish. As a consequence, much of the phosphorous consumed is excreted, which creates a significant environmental problem in animal waste management. Moreover, humans consuming a primarily grain-based diet may suffer mineral deficiencies because of the ability of phytic acid to form tightly-bound complexes with minerals. The enzymes involved in phytic acid accumulation in seeds are not fully characterized. Low phytic acid wheat and barley selections have been identified. Using these mutants and techniques of genetic analysis, this project will further the understanding of this important metabolic process in cereal seeds. The goal is to identify, clone, and characterize genes associated with the synthesis of phytic acid and related phosphorous biochemical pathways (specifically inositol monophosphatase and inositol kinase), to better understand this pathway's role in plant biology, and ultimately to improve world grain crops to reduce animal-derived phosphorous pollution and improve mineral nutrition of humans and domesticated livestock.