Wisdom Natural Brands® in close partnership with the World Stevia Organization are pleased to announce that the 1,000 euros First Prize of The Jame A. May “Father of Stevia” Award in Memorium of James A. May has been discerned to Dr. Ryan M. Warner, from Michigan State University, USA, during the 9th WSO Stevia Convention, which will be held in Amsterdam on October 24-25, 2019, for his excellent research work on the utilizing selection genetics and genomics to improve and understand synthesis of minor steviol glycosides.

"The sweetness of stevia is due to the production of diterpenoid steviol glycosides, which are up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose, and can comprise more than 20% of the leaf dry mass. The most widely utilized steviol glycoside for food and beverage applications currently is rebaudioside A (Reb A). While intensely sweet, the taste profile of Reb A is also described as bitter, reducing consumer acceptance. Reb D and Reb M offer a similar sweet intensity to Reb A without these undesirables off flavors. However, these compounds are produced in much lower concentrations than Reb A. Therefore, there is considerable interest in developing new stevia varieties with increased concentration of these “minor” glycosides. The genetic control of steviol glycoside synthesis is only partially understood. We developed stevia lines with Reb D and M concentrations considerably increased compared to traditional varieties. However, leaf biomass yield was decreased compared to high Reb A varieties. Improved understanding of the genetic basis for Reb D and M synthesis and accumulation, and identification of genes controlling these processes, is critical for overcoming this yield challenge. Ongoing work developing genomic resources to facilitate gene discovery and molecular marker development in stevia will be discussed."

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For media information:
World Stevia Organization
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