News FocusNinth International Plant Molecular Biology Congress, 25–30 October 2009, St. Louis, Missouri

Steak With a Side of Beta-Glucans

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Science  20 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5956, pp. 1058-1059
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5956.1058-b

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Plant cells are surrounded by a wall made up of molecules that are basically chains of sugars, so-called beta-glucans. At the 9th International Plant Molecular Biology Congress, researchers described progress in manipulating genes to increase the beta-glucan content of grains and other plant tissues. Those increases could translate into healthier foods by boosting fiber content. Manipulating beta-glucan content in plant cell walls can also increase our ability to fully utilize plant residue for many purposes such as biofuels.