GM could give flatulence-free sprouts for Christmas

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food standards agency Gm

Next Christmas could be less windy, thanks to GM sprouts, say scientists
Next Christmas could be less windy, thanks to GM sprouts, say scientists
Genetic modification (GM) could be used to produce flatulence-free sprouts, according to Rothamsted Research centre in Hertfordshire.

Professor John Pickett, head of pest control at the centre, said the top priority was crop protection and sustainable production. But, if the public wished, GM science could be used to produce a flatulence-free Brussel sprout, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today​ programme.

“We could divert that​ [GM] science into a smell-free Brussel sprout,”​ said Pickett. This could be achieved by engineering brassicas to enable them to be broken down more easily in the gut – reducing the production of methane by anaerobic digestion.

Christmas lunch

“It would limit the flavour you would get from it​,” admitted Pickett. “But, from the point of view of enjoying Christmas lunch, you would have this inert Brussel sprout that might appeal to people. It certainly would not give them the typical experience of eating such a sulphur-containing vegetable later that day.”

Meanwhile, if the reporting of GM science makes you fume, if you would like to see the debate about food science and technology more onto more balanced foundations, a free webinar to be staged next month is for you.

Free food science webinar

The webinar, Food fact and fiction, separating science from myth, is being organised by Food Manufacture and the Institute of Food Science & Technology. Together, we have enlisted the expertise of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food safety watchdog Which? and Leatherhead Food Research.

Dealing with a host of topical food science and technology topics – such as GM food, nanotechnology and irradiation – the webinar aims to identify problems and opportunities in the perception and reporting of such subjects.

There will also be scope for webinar delegates to put their questions directly to our expert speakers.

The webinar will take place at 11am on Thursday, January 24, 2013. To reserve your free place, register here​.

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1 comment

Sprouts – leave them alone

Posted by Patricia Appleton,

Leave my sprouts alone – the more natural the better – GM is not even legal in Britain, surely – I certainly hope not.

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