High Methionine, Enhanced Protein Corn with a Sturdy Kernel

Invention Summary:

A multi-faceted invention combining high amino acid enhanced corn with increased kernel hardness, offering nutritional and commercial benefits to breeders, producers, and consumers.

Market Application:

  • Animal feed
  • Sweet corn
  • Pet food
  • Corn products


Use of corn with increased levels of essential amino acids reduces the need of more costly soybeans and chemically synthesized methi- onine to achieve desired nutrition profiles; it also eliminates the cost of synthetic methionine for feed supplementation. Chemically synthesized methi- onine is also produced as racemic DL-methionine, rather than the natural occurring L-methionine, with less efficacy and possible long-term health concerns. (Some states have considered banning the use of the racemic form for feed.) Unfortunately, corn with higher levels of lysine acquires a softer kernel shell.

Now, a single compensatory factor strengthening the kernel shell in the same high-nutrient corn has been discovered. A stronger kernel shell is critical for harvesting, transport and storage of corn, providing less loss and more efficient production.

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

US Patent 6,849,779 issued February 1, 2005. Research is continuing.

Research and Development Status:

A short animal trial has been conducted to demonstrate the difference between normal and our enhanced corn. Animals (chicks) not only gained significantly more weight with the same amount of corn, but achieved better feather qualities as well. The transgene could be stacked with elite lines owned by seed companies. Kernel hardness and high lysine has been successful as Quality Protein Maize (QPM), which has a number of QTLs making breeding more difficult. Our dis- covery of a single molecular marker for QPM (patent pending) opens a simple way for incorporating such a trait into commercial lines.

Rutgers ID: 1999-0002
Plants, Berries, Fruit
Leon Segal
Director, Licensing - ORC
(848) 932-4464
Joachim Messing
Jinsheng Lai