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Fortified cassava could provide a day's nutrition in a single meal
Date:6/30/2008

that has been traced to the production of free radicals that damage and kill cells in newly harvested cassava roots.

The first cassava product the team plans to develop for investigations in the field will likely include the virus resistance, elevated protein, elevated beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and elevated minerals (iron and zinc), Sayre said.

"These traits have been working the best in the greenhouse, and the virus resistance is critical to success in the field," he said. "The thinking behind starting with these four traits is driven by science and by the impact they can have."

The BioCassava Plus project was launched with a $7.5 million grant from the Gates Foundation and recently received an additional $4.6 million in supplemental funding from the foundation to accelerate the application of this research in Africa by African scientists. The supplemental funding will support the training of African scientists so they can produce the transgenic plants in African institutions for use on African farms.

"It will not only be an improved staple crop eaten as a main source of nutrition, but we're also looking at the transformation of cassava from a staple crop to an income-generating crop," Sayre said. "That lifts people out of poverty, allows families to send kids to school and build infrastructure in their villages, so this is an important way to cross cultural barriers. There are many different cultures and languages in Africa, but higher crop yield, productivity, longer shelf life and making money are things that everyone understands."


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Contact: Richard Sayre
Sayre.2@osu.edu
614-292-9030
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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