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Whether it’s a big weekend breakfast of eggs and bacon or a quick bowl of cereal on your way to work, eating breakfast helps to jumpstart your body and fuel you for the day ahead.
Today, across the globe, scientists are researching ways they can add benefits to your breakfast foods through agricultural innovations.
Here are five foods that could be on the menu soon:
1. Keeping the Coffee Flowing
For many people, breakfast is synonymous with coffee. But a number of deadly plant diseases as well as climate change threaten your morning caffeine fix. Global coffee production could be cut in half in just 30 years.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis are currently sequencing the genome of a popular coffee variety. By better understanding the bean’s genetic code, scientists and coffee breeders could develop coffee trees capable of withstanding diseases and a changing climate.
2. Bread that Rises to the Occasion
Do you start your day with a piece of toast? Soon, the bread you put in the toaster or on the frying pan for French toast could have added nutritional benefits. By using gene editing to make small changes to wheat’s DNA, scientists are working to develop wheat that’s higher in protein and fiber.
Scientists are also exploring using the plant breeding method to develop reduced-gluten wheat.
3. Egg-celent Start to the Day
Whether they’re fried or scrambled, a breakfast of eggs can be a delicious and nutritious start to the day. Unfortunately, egg allergies are prevalent, with up to 2.5 percent of young children affected by them.
Using gene editing, though, scientists could develop a reduced-allergen egg by removing allergenic properties from egg whites.
4. Got (Allergen-Free) Milk?
Milk and cereal is a breakfast staple that, sadly, can’t be enjoyed by everyone. Between 2 and 3 percent of children under the age of three have a milk allergy — making it the most common allergy among kids.
Researchers in New Zealand, however, have taken a major step toward reducing allergens in milk. Most notably, they made a small change to the dairy cow’s genetic code, so that it produces milk free of the common allergen beta-lactoglobulin.
“What we have demonstrated is that we can eliminate a major allergen like beta-lactoglobulin from the cow’s milk, and do so safely,” scientist Dr. Gotz Laible said.
5. Fruitful Options
New varieties of fruit salad favorites — including oranges, mangoes and watermelons — bred to be resistant to plant diseases could soon be in your bowl. By cross-breeding different varieties of watermelons, researchers developed a new type capable of withstanding fusarium wilt, a soil-borne disease that can cause entire fields of the melon to die.
And, researchers are exploring using gene editing to develop a new variety of orange, as part of the effort to fight the deadly citrus greening disease.
These are just some of the innovations that researchers are exploring on their quest to strengthen and enhance your favorite foods.