Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Arcadia Biosciences’ gluten research earns $2 million grant

ArcadiaW

Eric Rey, CEO of Arcadia Biosciences in Davis, shows off wheat grown at the Davis headquarters as part of a research project to reduce gluten in cereal grain crops. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A18 | October 13, 2013 | Leave Comment

A local company’s research that may improve the lives of millions of people around the world is being supported by a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. The research involves finding a natural reduction of gluten within cereal grain crops.

Arcadia Biosciences Inc., one of the players in the burgeoning local agricultural biotechnology scene, is the grant recipient. The 10-year-old company is headquartered in Davis, at 202 Cousteau Place.

The local firm licenses technologies that come out of places like UC Davis, where another group already has done basic research. Eric Rey, CEO of Arcadia Biosciences, explained the model:

“We license these outside technologies, make investments in proving the technology works — like efficacy in plants in the field — then we turn around and license it to seed companies.”

Charles “Max” Moehs, a researcher based in Arcadia’s lab in Seattle, conceptualized the basic research for an approach to reducing gluten in cereal grains.

Absent the grant, Moehs would not have been able to pursue the research because Arcadia Biosciences is not in the business of funding basic research itself.

The research focuses on gluten, a mixture of proteins in cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It causes a serious reaction, an autoimmune response, in people with celiac disease, which affects one in 133 Americans.

Another 7 percent of the population is affected by non-celiac gluten sensitivity, according research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This larger group experiences some physical side-effects after ingesting gluten.

“The aim is to reduce the accumulation in the seed of those proteins that are most toxic to people with gluten sensitivity while leaving the proteins important for the bread-making functionality of wheat,” Moehs said.

The grant, which is the third he’s received from the agency, covers three years of work; after that, Moehs expects to have a better idea of the feasibility of his concept and how long development may take.

“In the old days, I’d tell you it would take 10 years,” he added. “I certainly hope that with the new molecular tools available to us that we can trim that down quite a bit, at least in half. In all, hopefully eight years.”

Commercialization would be the next step after development is complete. The possible commodity — which would not be a genetically modified organism — would capitalize on the gluten-free market, expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2017, according to Packaged Facts.

“It’s unknown right now whether we’re going to be able to make a bread wheat that eliminates gluten for those with celiac disease,” Rey said. “But the other target, of reducing the gluten, is something we’re confident about.

He remains high on the benefit of the work being done by Moehs and his support team, which includes about 10 researchers between the Seattle and Davis labs: ”A potentially commercially successful product that makes money and dramatically improves people’s lives? That’s as good as it gets. We’re very excited about it.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6