March 20, 2024

Crop science company’s new trait technology increases corn oil composition in trials

New trait technology from crop science company ZeaKal has increased corn oil composition in field trials while maintaining yield and protein.

The company’s PhotoSeed technology increased corn oil composition by an average of 23% in first-year replicated field trials, according to a news release from ZeaKal. PhotoSeed enhances a plant’s photosynthetic capacity, capturing more CO2 and sunlight and increasing oil production without depleting the energy necessary to maintain modern yields, according to the release.

ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed hybrid corn, grown in collaboration with the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center in a glasshouse setting. Photo courtesy of ZeaKal.

“This trait technology allows us to elevate the overall value of U.S. corn and creates a differentiated, value-added product that addresses industry demand,” Han Chen, co-founder and CEO of ZeaKal, said in the release. “U.S. farmers need innovation faster if we hope to compete in a challenging global commodity market. While we cannot change sunlight availability and geography for our growers, we can bring a latitude advantage to them through genetics.”

More than 94 million acres of corn are planted annually in the U.S., and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations forecasts a 70% increase in global demand for sustainable food and feed, according to the release. ZeaKal is working to address the need for plant-based energy while improving crop sustainability and elevating the productivity, quality and nutrition of key crops using fewer inputs, according to its website.

PhotoSeed corn commercialization is expected in 2027, according to the release.


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