Monday, July 10, 2017
Bio-fortified bananas to feed the world.
Bio-fortified bananas to feed the world. EACH year more than twice as many children worldwide die from vitamin A deficiency than are born in Australia. The staggering, tragic statistic is driven by the insidious impact of nutritional deficiencies in staple crops of many developing nations. More than 650,000 children die each year from lack of vitamin A, with several hundred thousand more going blind. One critical staple crop, the east African cooking banana, lacks provitamin A (comprised of alpha and beta carotene) which the liver converts to vitamin A to fuel the immune system, cell growth and vision. There is significant need for more nutritious bananas in countries such as Uganda, Democratic republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya. A team of researchers from Queensland University of Technology have developed a provitamin A-rich biofortified banana. Their research was published in the prestigious Plant Biotechnology Journal. The researchers used a gene from a banana that originated in Papua New Guinea and is naturally very high in provitamin A, but has small bunches, and inserted it into a Cavendish banana.The gene put into the bio-fortified banana was a banana gene, the Papuan New Guinean strain, and it is safe technology. source