Mmmm… tasty cotton. I wonder if they can make candy out of this.
Researchers have worked for decades to neutralize the substance and achieved partial success in the 1950s when scientists produced a gossypol-free plant by shutting off the gene that produces the toxin throughout the plant. But without gossypol, insects and diseases ravaged the cotton.
Rathore found a way to shut off gossypol production in only the seeds, leaving stems, leaves, flowers and tissue protected.
The method also has potential with crops such as the Indian pea, a legume that grows in Asia and Africa. Farmers grow the pea as an emergency crop because it’s high in protein and hardy in drought, but it contains a neurotoxin that paralyzes the lower body when eaten in large amounts.
At about 22 percent protein, cottonseed could improve the diets of malnourished people in developing nations worldwide, researchers said. The kernel has a nutty flavor and can be roasted and salted. And unlike the protein in soybeans, Rathore’s cottonseeds produce no flatulence when eaten.