The development and testing in the field of genetically modified -so called- orphan crops like cassava in tropical countries is still in its infancy, despite the fact that cassava is not only used for food and feed but is also an important industrial crop. As traditional breeding of cassava is difficult (allodiploid, vegetatively propagated, outbreeding species) it is an ideal crop for improvement through genetic modification. We here report on the results of production and field testing of genetically modified low-amylose transformants of commercial cassava variety Adira4 in Indonesia. Twenty four transformants were produced and selected in the Netherlands based on phenotypic and molecular analyses. Nodal cuttings of these plants were sent to Indonesia where they were grown under biosafety conditions. After two screenhouse tests 15 transformants remained for a field trial. The tuberous root yield of 10 transformants was not significantly different from the control. Starch from transformants in which amylose was very low or absent showed all physical and rheological properties as expected from amylose-free cassava starch. The improved functionality of the starch was shown for an adipate acetate starch which was made into a tomato sauce. This is the first account of a field trial with transgenic cassava which shows that by using genetic modification it is possible to obtain low-amylose cassava plants with commercial potential with good root yield and starch quality.
- manihot-esculenta crantz
- cyclic somatic embryogenesis