Navigation Links
Iowa State study finds corn bred to contain beta-carotene is a good source of vitamin A
Date:9/8/2010

AMES, Iowa -- A new Iowa State University study has found that corn bred to contain increased levels of beta-carotene is a good source of vitamin A. The discovery gives added support to the promise of biofortified corn being developed through conventional plant breeding as an effective tool to combat vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.

Beta-carotene is converted in the body to vitamin A. The researchers found that the beta-carotene in the corn was converted to vitamin A at a higher rate than what's predicted for corn, and higher than the rate for beta-carotene in vegetables including spinach and carrots, among others.

Wendy White, an ISU associate professor of food science and human nutrition, led the six-week study conducted at Iowa State's Nutrition and Wellness Research Center. The results validate the promise of 'orange' maize that will soon be released to combat vitamin A deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to a 2009 World Health Organization estimate, vitamin A is deficient in more than half of the world's countries, with Africa and Southeast Asia having the highest deficiencies. Medical researchers have reported vitamin A deficiency to be one of the most serious causes of malnutrition in developing countries and can cause blindness, poor immune function and even premature death -- particularly in young children.

The effort to biofortify corn with beta-carotene is being led by HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org/) a global research initiative directed, in part, by the Washington, D.C.-based International Food Policy Research Institute.

"Biofortification is a revolutionary approach to combating micronutrient malnutrition in developing countries and it has the potential to be self-sustaining," White said. "The seeds are bred by plant breeders to be naturally high in key micronutrients, such as vitamin A, zinc and/or iron. And then the seeds will ultimately be distributed to poor farmers in developing countries and they'll be able to reproduce the seeds so they can share them with their communities.

"This study answered a major feasibility concern for the biofortification program because plant breeders were quickly successful in ramping up the beta-carotene content in the corn, but then the question was, 'Would it be available to be absorbed and utilized by people?,'" she continued. "So what we've shown is the beta-carotene is bioavailable to be converted to vitamin A in the body, and much more so than previously expected."

The study was posted online this month by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is published by the American Society for Nutrition. Iowa State graduate students Shanshan Li and Angela Nugroho, and Purdue University researcher Torbert Rocheford -- who was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the time the research was conducted -- collaborated with White on the study. An abstract is available at: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/ajcn.2010.29802v1.

The researchers had their six healthy female subjects, between the ages of 18 and 30, consume 250-gram portions of maize porridge three times at two-week intervals. Each subject consumed the beta-carotene biofortified maize porridge, as well as two white maize control porridges that were naturally devoid of beta-carotene, but contained known amounts of added beta-carotene or vitamin A. Blood samples were drawn after they ate each porridge to determine the amount of vitamin A that was absorbed in the blood.

White says the study's findings provide an important step in the process of making the biofortified corn available to the people who desperately need vitamin A in their diets.

"These [their subjects] were mostly graduate students based in the U.S. who were screened for excellent health. So this study was conducted under ideal conditions," White said. "And so the next step -- knowing that under ideal conditions the beta-carotene can be well absorbed -- is to take it into a more field setting."

White reports that there is already a pilot program being conducted in Zambia to feed the beta-carotene, biofortified maize to young children to increase their vitamin A intake. HarvestPlus is conducting that project and supported the development of the maize for the Iowa State study.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mike Ferlazzo
ferlazzo@iastate.edu
515-294-8986
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. L-1 Identity Solutions Receives $5.9 Million Drivers License Contract Expansion from the State of Mississippi
3. NC State takes lead in crime scene investigation training
4. Penn State receives new NASA astrobiology grant
5. Penn State researcher wins Entomological Society of America award
6. Paradigm Tactical Products to be Largest Distributor of Metal/Radiation Detection Wands in United States
7. Iowa State researcher develops new treatment method for canine eye diseases
8. L-1 Identity Solutions Selected by the State of New York as the Winning Bidder to Provide Enrollment Services for a Contract Estimated at Up to $250 Million
9. State fund advances titanium powder research, 9 other Iowa State projects
10. 15-state Southern obesity summit to focus on deadly epidemic
11. Montana State University researchers find gene that regulates molds resistance to drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Iowa State study finds corn bred to contain beta-carotene is a good source of vitamin A
(Date:3/9/2016)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 ... identity management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication ... IT and InfoSec managers to step-up security where ... Washington, DC . ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, awarded ... & Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a category ... th year of the FLEXI Awards and the ... from past years . Judging was done on ... of criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, industry ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... NOTTINGHAM, England and DE SOTO, ... , U.S.-based Stroke Detection Plus® to offer Oncimmune,s ... the risk assessment and early detection of lung cancer ... include large employers, unions and individuals. --> ... employers, unions and individuals. --> Oncimmune, a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has ... 2017 and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both ... “We’ve witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... LONDON , May 23, 2016 ... Boost Efficiency by 40% - Frontage Implement a Single ... Enforce Quality, Compliance and Traceability Within the Bioanalytical lab ... the United States and China ... deployed across its laboratory facilities. In addition to serving as the ...
(Date:5/22/2016)... ... May 22, 2016 , ... Doctors in Rome say micronutrients ... asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article on the new ... of Rome’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine evaluated more than 150 studies ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , ... May 20, 2016 , ... Korean researchers say ... it may offer a new way to treat the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just ... , Scientists from several Korean institutions based their mesothelioma study on the fact ...
Breaking Biology Technology: