Targeted Mutagenesis of the Multicopy Myrosinase Gene Family in Allotetraploid Brassica juncea Reduces Pungency in Fresh Leaves across Environments

Plants (Basel). 2022 Sep 23;11(19):2494. doi: 10.3390/plants11192494.


Recent breeding efforts in Brassica have focused on the development of new oilseed feedstock crop for biofuels (e.g., ethanol, biodiesel, bio-jet fuel), bio-industrial uses (e.g., bio-plastics, lubricants), specialty fatty acids (e.g., erucic acid), and producing low glucosinolates levels for oilseed and feed meal production for animal consumption. We identified a novel opportunity to enhance the availability of nutritious, fresh leafy greens for human consumption. Here, we demonstrated the efficacy of disarming the 'mustard bomb' reaction in reducing pungency upon the mastication of fresh tissue-a major source of unpleasant flavor and/or odor in leafy Brassica. Using gene-specific mutagenesis via CRISPR-Cas12a, we created knockouts of all functional copies of the type-I myrosinase multigene family in tetraploid Brassica juncea. Our greenhouse and field trials demonstrate, via sensory and biochemical analyses, a stable reduction in pungency in edited plants across multiple environments. Collectively, these efforts provide a compelling path toward boosting the human consumption of nutrient-dense, fresh, leafy green vegetables.

Keywords: Brassica juncea; CRISPR-CAS; Cas12a; biotechnology; glucosinolate; leafy green; mustard bomb; myrosinase; nutrition; targeted mutagenesis.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.