Elizabeth Adams

By

College: Medicine

UK Researchers Decode Activity of Starch Modifying Enzyme to Provide Opportunities Across Industries

Published: Jun 11, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2014) -- Scientists at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have gained a new understanding of an enzyme essential for breaking down plant starch, a process used in agriculture, manufacturing and biotechnology.

 

Dr. Matthew Gentry and Dr. Craig Vander Kooi, associate professors of molecular and cellular biochemistry at the University of Kentucky, and graduate student David Meekins, have decoded the natural process plants use to break down starch. Their discovery will lead to more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient methods of processing starch, with significant applications for agriculture and biotechnology. Their findings were reported May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

As the major energy supply in plants, starch is a central component of human and animal food. Starch is used to manufacture clothing, glue, plastics and agriculture feedstock. A growing starch demand has contributed to a drastic rise in corn prices. To be modified for industrial applications, starch requires hazardous chemicals and costly processing methods.

 

"Starch is a ubiquitous building block for the things in our lives," Gentry said. "The enzyme Starch Excess4 is key for starch breakdown. We envision being able to use this knowledge to make starch manipulation cheaper and more green."

 

Starch is comprised of long glucose, or sugar, polymers that are water-insoluble, making them ideal for storing energy but difficult to break down. The researchers decoded how a specific enzyme, Starch Excess4, controls the removal of phosphate from starch to allow efficient starch break down.

 

The group determined the three-dimensional structure of Starch Excess4, and this breakthrough allowed them to engineer an enzyme with novel activity. Their ability to direct the activity of the enzyme opens avenues to eliminate hazardous chemicals and costly processing methods used in the agricultural and industrial applications. The work provides a foundation for controlling starch breakdown and creating designer starches tailored to specific uses in industrial settings. 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams; elizabethadams@uky.edu

starch_illustration.jpgdr._craig_vander_kooi.jpgmatthew_gentry.jpgmeekins.jpg
February
1
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Sun
2
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
3
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tue
4
LNFS Presents: Groundhog Day
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Massage on the Go #1
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Internship Info Session
Edward Ayers, "The Incomplete War" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Wed
5
LNFS Presents: Interstellar
LNFS Presents: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Thu
6
LNFS Presents: Songcatcher
LNFS Presents: Wall-E
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Fri
7
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
8
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Family Program: Everyone Collects!
Sun
9
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
10
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Employer Showcase: Day 1 Technical Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Successful Telephone Interview/Screening Tips and How to Choose & Prep your Professional References
Live Painting Performance
Coleman Hutchison, "Variations on the Word 'Dixie': Civil War Cultural Memory and a Song of the South" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Love Letters for Seniors
Tue
11
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: Caddyshack
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Employer Showcase: Day 2 Non-Technical Career Fair
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Darwin Lecture Series
Wildcat Wednesday
#TrendingTopics: Space Exploration
Wed
12
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: Taxi Driver
LNFS Presents: Gone Girl
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Legal Planning
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
"Fix Society" Leelah's Law
David Blight, "When Did the American Civil War End?" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Thu
13
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: The Great Gatsby
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Candlelight Vigil for Chapel Hill Victims
Placing Modern Moonshine in America: Exploring Appalachia’s Role
ASA Photography Project
Fri
14
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Artist Talk
Sat
15
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
CIFA X CSSA Chinese Basketball Tournament
Film Screening: 2 States
Sun
16
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Awards, Reception, & Mixer
Mon
17
LNFS Presents: Dear White People
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Party Gras
CatWatch Party #2
Tue
18
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: Wreck-It Ralph
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Wed
19
LNFS Presents: Nightcrawler
LNFS Presents: Ip Man
Celebration at UK vs Texas A & M Women’s Basketball Game, Memorial Coliseum
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Depression Screening Day
Celebration at UK vs Texas A & M Women’s Basketball Game
Thu
20
LNFS Presents: The Bang Bang Club
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Curator Tour
Fri
21
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Celebration at UK vs Auburn Men’s Basketball Game
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Cross Cultural Workshop
Cross Cultural Workshop
Life After UK Conference
Spring Comedian: Jim Gaffigan
Sat
22
Cross Cultural Workshop
Cross Cultural Workshop
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
23
Graduate & Professional School Prep
Convocation
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Graduate School & Professional School Prep
Behind the Lens: Beau Willimon
Mon
24
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Interview Strategies from the Other Side of the Table
Graduate School & Professional School Prep: Getting into Medical School
Cuba-U.S. Relations: a panel discussion
Pinterest Party #2
CRE and CCO Speaker: Laura Simms
Tue
25
LNFS Presents: Inception
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Fellows Founders Week Luncheon
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Explaining Graduate School Tests
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Write a Winning Personal Statement
Wed
26
LNFS Presents: The Birds
LNFS Presents: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1
Guest Lecture: President Emeritus Mark Yudof of the University of California – Berkley
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Astronaut Dr Story Musgrave
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Graduate School 101
80's Night
African Dance Night
African Dance Night
Thu
27
LNFS Presents: Superbad
LNFS Presents: Little Shop of Horrors
Cultural Coffee Hour
The Blue Tie Bash
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture: Tanya Habjouqa
Fri
28
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Stay Warm with Swing Dancing
Sat

Sat, 02/28/2015

Repeats every day until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Feb 02 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Sun, 03/01/2015

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Jan 12 2015, Mon Jan 26 2015, Mon Feb 02 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Sun, 03/01/2015

Repeats every day until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Jan 26 2015, Mon Feb 02 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Sun, 03/01/2015

Repeats every day until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Sun, 03/01/2015

Reset Page