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Norwich scientists make progress in pursuit of the perfect pea

PUBLISHED: 14:30 13 August 2015 | UPDATED: 14:49 13 August 2015

Norwich scientists are trying to produce the perfect pea. Pic: Submitted.

Norwich scientists are trying to produce the perfect pea. Pic: Submitted.

Submitted

For many, the mushy ones sold at the market in Great Yarmouth are as good as they get, but that has not stopped scientists in Norwich from searching for the perfect pea.

Dr Claire Domoney in a field of peas. Pic: Submitted.Dr Claire Domoney in a field of peas. Pic: Submitted.

Scientists at the John Innes Centre , on the edge of Norwich, have developed peas they say will help animals absorb more protein from their diet - cutting costs for farmers.

Pea and other legume seeds contain several inhibitors which stop proteins being absorbed fully from the diet of humans, poultry and livestock.

So, Dr Claire Domoney’s group at the John Innes Centre used non-GM methods to develop peas which do not have these inhibitors. Their results were published yesterday.

The new peas are not expected to have a different taste, as the proteins that have been removed are not linked to the development of flavour.

Neither are they expected to cost more than conventional peas that are currently available.

Dr Domoney said the new peas could reach the market within five years.

Breeders, including Docking-based Limagrain and Lincolnshire firm Wherry & Sons, are already showing interest in the new peas.

Peter Smith, from Wherry & Sons, said: “The removal of inhibitors in peas is an example of one of many traits which should enable the industry to move forward with a nutritionally improved crop benefiting throughout the food chain.”

• Do you have a farming story? Call agricultural, food and farming editor Chris Hill on 01603 772184 or email chris.hill@archant.co.uk

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