2 March 2017 - LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)
Ancient grains, and quinoa in particular, continue to be popular health foods in Western countries. Because of this trend, food and beverage producers are increasingly using these grains in their products. In fact, grains like quinoa and spelt are beginning to make their way into products where one might not expect to find them, such as chocolate and beer.
While there has been some concern that quinoa is just a fad that is beginning to decline, Infiniti Research expects the global quinoa market to be worth nearly USD 900 million by 2020, growing at a very healthy CAGR of 26.18%. And recent work by an international team of scientists could play a substantial part in that growth.
Mark Tester, a plant scientist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, is the leader of the team that recently sequenced quinoa’s genome. He and the other researchers hope to use this information to make the plant better able to survive and grow on modern farms. Not only would this help feed more people, but it could also lead to the grain becoming more mainstream, and not seen only as a niche health food.
In the process, the scientists discovered something else useful: the gene that they believe is responsible for quinoa’s bitter flavor. That gene produces the chemical saponin, which is toxic and may play a role in protecting the crop from birds. However, breeding the plant to reduce the presence of this chemical may save labor and water use during production, resulting in a net benefit. Not only could this make the plant easier to produce, it would likely increase the appeal of the grain, helping it to become more widespread.
Source: Infiniti Research
Illustration Photo: quinoa grains (Public Domain from Pixabay.com)