USA – Lead scientists from PureCircle Stevia Institute and KeyGene have completed the sequencing of the stevia plant genome, unveiling a major breakthrough in research showing the annotated genome sequences of three cultivars of the plant.
According to PureCircle, its non-GMO agriculture programme has been strengthened by these findings, as the research may help facilitate optimisation of the levels of steviol glycosides, including improvements in the levels of the well-known minor glycosides, Reb D and Reb M.
According to News Food, the research hoped to provide a better understanding of key enzyme groups used by the plant to produce the steviol glycosides giving the sugar substitute its characteristic sweet taste.
Ingredients developed as a result of this research could enable further reductions in sugar and calorie content of foods and beverages, which could benefit consumers around the world; helping them meet dietary guidelines calling for reductions in sugar and calorie intake for improved health.
“These findings provide strategic enhancements to our breeding and agronomy programs, as well as tremendous utility for scientists, farmers and developers working with stevia as a non-GMO ingredient,” said Avetik Markosyan, Vice President, Head of Group Research and Development at PureCircle.
“These findings provide strategic enhancements to our breeding and agronomy programs, as well as tremendous utility for scientists, farmers and developers working with stevia as a non-GMO ingredient.”
“Having a single high-quality reference genome is generally considered a major step forward for newly domesticated crops, such as stevia,” said Arjen van Tunen, CEO of KeyGene.
“We have surpassed this benchmark with three independent reference genomes for stevia.
This comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the stevia genome will directly translate to high–value, improved stevia varieties.
“Being an industry leader, agronomic research is an investment PureCircle values highly,” said Faith Son, Vice President, Head of Marketing and Innovation at PureCircle.
“This is indeed the stevia leaf’s next step towards creating a clearer path to great taste and understanding all of the immense benefits the plant contains for the global food and beverage industry as well as consumers.”