New research by North Carolina State University shows a new technique that can alter plant metabolism, which, when tested in tobacco plants, showed that it could reduce harmful chemical compounds, reports Science Daily.
“A number of techniques can be used to successfully reduce specific chemical compounds, or alkaloids, in plants such as tobacco, but research has shown that some of these techniques can increase other harmful chemical compounds while reducing the target compound,” said De-Yu Xie, professor of plant and microbial biology at North Carolina State University and the corresponding author of a paper describing the research.
“Our technology reduced a number of harmful compounds—including the addictive nicotine, the carcinogenic N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and other tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs)—simultaneously without detrimental effects to the plant.”
The technique uses transcription factors and regulatory elements as molecular tools for new regulation designs. The paper appears in Journal of Advanced Research. Research associate Mingzhu Li is a first author of the paper. Former postdoctoral fellows Xianzhi He and Christophe La Hovary are co-first authors. The research was supported by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.