“Our actions are our future – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life” – the World Food Day 2021 theme focused on how the food we choose and the way we consume it affect our health and that of our planet. Seed plays and important role towards a better future; developing sustainable plant-based solutions to improve food production, nutrition and the environment.
Better food production
Sustainably producing more food from every acre is a priority across the agriculture industry. Our food starts with tiny seeds that grow into plants that then either nourish people or animals – making seeds a critical part of feeding the world. “We’re using the best of advanced traditional plant breeding and proven biotechnology to improve our crops’ abilities to ensure a healthy, safe and secure food supply under constant threat of drought, disease, insect and weed pressure,” said Leon Streit, Nuseed Global R&D Leader based at the West Sacramento Nuseed Innovation Center.
With world-class germplasm, Nuseed R&D experts using the latest molecular laboratory technology are bringing canola, carinata, sunflower and sorghum hybrids to market that are both high yielding and more resilient. Streit further explained, “we’ve enabled sunflowers, for example, through advanced traditional plant breeding to be resistant to orobanche, a parasitic disease that is a huge threat to sunflower crops in Europe.”
Plant-based nutrition is growing due to an overall increased focus on healthy eating and demand from vegetarian/vegan/flexitarian consumer segments world-wide. There is a huge opportunity to deliver improved nutrition to people and animals through the power of plants. Nuseed is focused on maximizing nutrition across all four of the company’s core crops: canola, carinata, sorghum and sunflower.
Sustainable Total Omega-3
More than 80% of the world’s population is not getting enough omega-3, an essential nutrient for eye, cardiovascular and brain health. Many of the world’s wealthiest nations have the biggest omega-3 nutrient deficit, largely due to diets lacking fish, the number one source of omega-3. Harvesting wild fish stocks, for human consumption or as an ingredient in aquafeed, puts extreme pressure on our oceans; there is simply not enough supply to meet the demand.
Over a decade in development, Nuseed has now commercialized a sustainable plant-based solution to help provide the world better nutrition, sustainably. By adding DHA+EPA from microalgae (what fish eat that makes them a naturally high source of omega-3) to canola plants Nuseed is now providing a plant-based source of total omega-3 for aquafeed (Aquaterra®) and human nutrition (Nutriterra®) grown on existing farmland.
“When included in aquafeed, Aquaterra reduces fish-in-fish-out (FIFO) ratios by as much as 62%, while improving the omega-6:omega-3 ratios,” said Benita Boettner, Nuseed Nutritional Global General Manager. “Aquaterra has the potential to double the world’s supply of omega-3 without pressuring ocean resources.” Aquaterra received the Friend of the Sea’s first biotechnology certification; signaling the importance this innovation to both health and the environment.
For two reasons high oleic food oils are increasing in demand worldwide. First oils high in oleic acid are widely accepted as healthier by increasing good cholesterol and reducing inflammation and heart disease1, especially in comparison to hydrogenated oils that are dangerously high in trans fats. The second reason is the improved shelf life and frying qualities that high oleic oils provide food manufacturers and restaurants. Both canola and sunflower have excellent ability to provide high quantity and high quality high oleic oil to meet growing global demand for heart-healthy oils. Nuseed’s R&D experts are advancing commercial production of high oleic sunflowers world-wide and high oleic canola, branded Monola, in Australia.
“High Oleic oils will continue to increase in demand as the world moves away from using hydrogenated oils. We are continuously advancing our global sunflower and canola portfolios to deliver greater and greater nutrition from existing hectares,” said Travis Rankin, Nuseed Global Strategic Asset Lead based in Melbourne, Australia.
One in a hundred people world-wide suffer from celiac disease2, and the only treatment is a gluten-free diet. Nuseed is developing advanced sorghum hybrids for early maturity to increase the climatic regions the crop can be grown on marginal or existing farmland, making the highly nutritious, gluten-free ancient grain more widely available. Great news for the environment. With comparable nutrition and energy to corn, sorghum requires one third less water, adds crop diversity, and numerous soil health benefits. Nuseed’s sorghum portfolio also includes grain and silage sorghum hybrids (BMR hybrids) that are more easily digestible for improved livestock feed.
“We have customers in over 30 countries worldwide and are working to make the crop ever more frost, saline, drought and insect tolerance so more people can grow and use our food-grade sorghum as a staple in their gluten-free diet,” said David Drinnon, Nuseed subsidiary Richardson Seeds International General Manager based in Vega, Texas. “For grain and silage sorghum the cows don’t care as much about being gluten free, as the feedlot managers care about having an easy to digest alternative to high priced, high input corn-based feed.” Sorghum is used in more than food and feed, it’s also used for beer or spirits!
Plant protein demand continues to increase year over year. Nuseed sunflower R&D, in addition to heart-healthy high oleic qualities, is working on increasing the kernel’s protein content. Also continued work on Nuseed Carinata’s high protein meal, means this amazing carbon sequestering cover crop provides not only low GHG renewable fuel feedstock on existing land, it also contributes to feed and food production with its high protein meal.
“Critical to our business, and low GHG certification, is that Nuseed Carinata is a cover crop grown on existing land between main food crops. It contributes to feed and food production by the inclusion of the remaining high protein meal, left after crushing it for non-food oil for renewable fuel, in livestock feed,” explained Brent Javra, Nuseed Global Commercial General Manager.
By focusing on better production, nutrition and the environment, and in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals and World Food Day, Nuseed is advancing new plant-based solutions to help provide a plentiful food supply and adding value beyond yield.