The Loh Down On Science

Multivitamin Corn

How 'bout a little multivitamin... on the cob?

Why pop multivitamins when you can pop... corn? This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and with the newest Freak of Nature: vitamin-packed corn on the cob.

It was created by Paul Christou, from the University of Lleida in Spain. In the lab, he played God with two-week-old corn embryos.

Mean God.

Which is to say: He shot the niblets with microscopic bullets made of gold.

The pellets carry a mixed bag of genes: One each for vitamins C and B9 and two that synthesize beta-carotene – that's the chemical precursor to vitamin A. It gives carrots their color.

And, the pellets landed where intended: in the nuclei of corn cells. There, the genes mingled with the plant's DNA.

His FrankenCobs grew up lovely – and loaded with nutrients. Compared to un-tinkered-with corn, his creations had twice the vitamin B and six times the vitamin C.

Oh, and 17,000 percent more beta-carotene.

The new grub could give a nutritious boost to vitamin-deficient folks throughout the world.

As long as they like corn. Sprouted in a lab. With kernels that are Day-Glo orange.


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