Food and nutrition research of biofortified staple crops

From farm to fork to cell

Nutrition seminar
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
11:00 to 12:00, Salle D


Dr Erick Boy-Gallego
Head of Nutrition, HarvestPlus, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC, USA

During the past decade the HarvestPlus consortium of plant, nutrition and health research scientists has undertaken the proof of the construct that consumption of biofortified staple crops will improve iron (common beans & pearl millet), zinc (rice and wheat) and vitamin A (sweet potato, cassava, maize) status.

To this end, multiple studies have demonstrated the range of effects on nutrient retention associated with traditional methods of processing and cooking these crops in target populations that consume these crops as staples. In vitro, animal and human studies have been conducted to ascertain the bioavailability of iron, zinc and provitamin A carotenoids, and community-based intervention trials continue to assess the biological and functional impact of biofortified crops.

To date, most of the original assumptions about staple consumption, and nutrient retention and bioavailability have been tested. Results show that provitamin A crops can improve vitamin A intakes significantly among women and children. In summary, nutrition research of biofortified staple food crops has amassed and continues to generate an important body of scientific evidence to justify seed deployment at scale as a mainstream strategy to alleviate hidden hunger, with potential to become a mainstream intervention to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

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Hosted by:

Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD)

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