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Danforth Center scientist recruited to spearhead cassava green revolution for Nigeria
Date:9/19/2011

ages of viral diseases, micronutrient deficiency and increase productivity, via molecular breeding and biotechnology, and for his efforts to develop the biotechnology capacity of the National Root Research Institute (NCRCRI) in Nigeria.

"We see this as a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Fregene to employ his experience and capabilities to assist the Honourable Minister of Agriculture in his aggressive effort to revitalize the agricultural sector in Nigeria. The Danforth Center is proud to contribute this effort through Dr. Fregene's participation", said Paul Anderson.

More than 250 million sub-Saharan Africans rely on cassava as their major source of calories. Although it has many properties that make it an important food across much of Africa and Asia, it also has many limitations. A cassava-based diet does not provide complete nutrition and those who depend on cassava for food often suffer from chronic malnutrition, or insufficient intake of essential nutrients and vitamins including pro-vitamin A, iron and protein. In addition, Cassava is susceptible to many pathogens. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) represent the most serious threats to cassava production in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year, CMD is responsible for a minimum of 30% losses of the harvest and CBSD has become an increasing threat in recent years. Farmers are desperate.

The Danforth Plant Science Center has been the lead on two major projects to address these challenges. BioCassava Plus is aimed at helping Africans avoid the devastating health consequences caused by micro nutrient malnutrition by delivering more nutritious, higher yielding, and more marketable cultivars of cassava. The cassava being developed will contain beneficial amounts of beta-carotene, which the human body uses to make Vitamin A, iron and protein. Beta-carotene is contained in various foods today, but those foods are often not readily available to many p
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Contact: Melanie Bernds
mbernds@danforthcenter.org
314-587-1647
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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