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Scientists make rice albumin breakthrough


China Daily, 2011-11-02

Scientists at a Chinese university said on Monday they have figured out how to use rice to make albumin, a protein found in human blood that is often used for treating burns, traumatic shock and liver disease.

When extracted from rice seeds, the protein is "physically and chemically equivalent to blood-derived human serum albumin (HSA)", says the research in the US-published Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings could lead to a breakthrough in production of HSA, which typically comes from human blood donations.

The demand for the blood protein is about 500 tons per year worldwide, and China has faced worrying shortages in the past.

The rice method was devised by scientists at Wuhan University in China and researchers from the National Research Council of Canada and the Center for Functional Genomics at the University at Albany in New York.

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