Title : A new era of cottonseed protein utilization is about to begin
Each year the cotton crop on the planet produces about 11 million metric tons of plant-based protein, as a byproduct of cotton production. Unfortunately, almost all this protein must be used as a supplement for ruminant animals or used for fertilizer. This vast plant-based protein reserve is being grossly underutilized in the conversion of plant-based protein to high-quality animal protein due to a naturally occurring chemical known as gossypol. Gossypol is a cumulative toxin that severely limits the utilization of cottonseed protein. Researchers in China and the U.S. have simultaneously used two different molecular biology strategies to reduce gossypol in cottonseed to safe levels. Extensive aquaculture research with low-gossypol cottonseed protein has clearly shown that it can satisfy most, if not all, of the protein requirements of many important aquaculture species, where it can effectively replace or extend the use of fish meal. Cottonseed protein is a unique plant-based protein because it is highly palatable, nutritious and widely available. As this technology is integrated into cotton plants worldwide, over the next decade, it will help enable the aquaculture industry to continue to grow and become more sustainable.
- The extensive scientific background of this transformative technology will be briefly reviewed.
- Aquaculture research with this new source of protein will be summarized.
- The path forward for increased utilization of sustainable cottonseed protein will be explored