Nutritionally Enhanced Sorghum for the Arid and Semiarid Tropical Areas of Africa
To help alleviate malnutrition in Africa, nutritionally enhanced sorghum was developed through genetic transformation to increase pro-vitamin A (β-carotene) accumulation and stability, to improve iron and zinc bioavailability, and to improve protein digestibility. Through many years of efforts, significant achievements have been made for these goals. We generated nutritionally enhanced sorghum lines with enhanced and stabilized pro-vitamin A that provide 20–90% of the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for children under age 3, lines with a 90% reduction in phytate that increase iron and zinc bioavailability and provide 40–80% of the EAR for iron and zinc, and lines that show no reduction in protein digestibility after cooking compared with normal levels. Once these nutritionally enhanced sorghum lines have undergone biosafety examination and have been deregulated, they will be ready for incorporation into sorghum varieties that will benefit Africa and other areas that rely upon sorghum as a staple food.
Key wordsSorghum Nutrition Nutrition enhancement Transgenic sorghum Enhancing pre-vitamin A Fe & Zn bioavailability Phytate reduction Protein digestibility
This research was supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health Grant ID-37877 and by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation funding of the Africa Biofortified Sorghum Project. DowDuPont™ provided funding and in-kind donations. Dr. Paul Anderson and Dr. Rudolf Jung made contributions to this project in early stage. Analyses of sorghum protein digestibility and endosperm texture were carried out in John Taylor’s lab of University Pretoria, South African. Rat pup absorption experiments for Fe/Zn bioavailability analysis were conducted in Bo Lonnerdal’s lab of University of California, Davis; financially supported by HarvestPlus International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. This work was done in close collaboration with Dr. Florence Wambugu and her staff at Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
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