In the excitement over functional foods in the supermarket, researchers shouldn't overlook other opportunities -- namely, animals and agriculture, according to George Kidd, president of the management consulting firm Kidd and Co. Inc. of Shorewood, Wis.

Kidd believes that the animal feed market offers pharmaceutical companies the perfect chance to seize functional food technology. "There are 1,200 human health companies that specialize in biotech," he says. "On the other hand, only a few specialize in plant or ag biotech. A lot of these pharmaceuticals are now looking to do something in the ag area. The partnership possibilities are unbelievably large."

As an example, Kidd points to research exploring the idea of genetically engineered vaccine-carrying food crops that could protect grazing animals from disease (K.S. Brown, The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1995, page 14).

Another potential biotech market involves microbe-produced molecules added to food. To boost a food's nutritional benefit, researchers...

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