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Key to phytate biosynthesis described

The molecular structure and mechanism of action of the key enzyme in the plant phytate biosynthesis pathway has been described by researchers. Phytate is a major source of phosphate in feed, but is largely indigestible by livestock unless feed is supplemented with phytase enzymes able to break it down. It is a significant cause of environmental phosphate pollution by manure. In humans, phytate acts as an anti-nutrient, impeding the absorbance of iron and can lead to anaemia. Understanding how the enzyme, inositol 1,3,4,5,6-pentakisphosphate 2-kinase (IP5 2-kinase), works could aid the development of new low-phytate crops and reduce the need for expensive feed supplements, say the researchers from the Spanish national research council, the CSIC, and the UK’s University of East Anglia (Norwich). Details of the research were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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