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Researchers team up to provide new hope for childhood hunger
Date:7/27/2009

hance crops so that they can thrive where malnutrition is rampant and provide a complete package of nutrients needed for health. With his RUTF efforts complemented by the Danforth Center's cassava team, the full vision for the Global Harvest Alliance began to take shape.

"Effective solutions to the crisis of childhood malnutrition must involve interventions spanning a diverse spectrum of disciplines including health care, agriculture and home economics. People in the developing world derive most of their nutrients from plants; plants constitute 90% of the diet of many Africans. Therefore effective prevention strategies must include food crops that provide more complete nutrition," said Manary.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a GHA partner, has been a leader in biofortification for more than a decade. The Center is a recipient of funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct research as part of BioCassava Plus, an international initiative seeking to make cassava a more nutritionally rich and balanced staple plant crop. The project has demonstrated unprecedented success in enhancing cassava to contain more protein, vitamins and minerals, more robust plant virus resistance, delayed post-harvest deterioration and reduced cyanide content. Farmer-preferred varieties are being collected and analyzed, and Dr. Manary is building a network of in-country nutritionists to add to the team of Danforth Center scientists already in place.

With support from the Gates Foundation's Global Challenges Program, the Center's cassava bio-fortification efforts have met or exceeded all targets:

  • The levels of beta-carotene have been increased 30X.
  • The levels of protein have been increased 10X.
  • The levels of iron have been increased 4X.

Led by GHA scientists, teams will field-test improved cassava varieties in Kenya and Nigeria during the next five years. Through the efforts of the Danforth Center and its colla
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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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