Exploring biofortification of beans with zinc to combat deficiency

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(Natural News) In this review, South African researchers discuss the causes of zinc deficiency, which has become prevalent in low-income families in South Africa. They also explore possible solutions to this, such as the biofortification of locally-preferred common bean cultivars. This article was published in the journal Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science.

  • In humans, vitamin A, iodine, iron and zinc deficiencies are caused by poor diet and low intake of dietary sources of these nutrients.
  • These nutritional deficiencies negatively impact the health, well-being and social and economic status of an individual.
  • According to a national survey conducted in South Africa in 2012, vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiencies are prevalent in the country. But while the first two can be considered moderate, zinc deficiency is a serious problem.
  • Current initiatives to reduce zinc deficiency include fortifying wheat products and maize meal, but these have not had much success.
  • Some of the disadvantages of fortifying foods include high end-product cost, poor regulation and compliance to set standards, non-fortification of sorghum meal and the leaching of nutrients during processing.
  • To address the issue of zinc deficiency in South Africa, the researchers suggest the biofortification of common bean cultivars with zinc as an alternative strategy.
  • They also discuss the advantages of adopting biofortified Nutritional Andean common beans.

The researchers believe that studying how common bean genotypes will adapt to different agro-ecological practices is important for the development of effective strategies to combat zinc deficiency.

Journal Reference:

Moloto RM, Moremi LH, Soundy P, Maseko ST. BIOFORTIFICATION OF COMMON BEAN AS A COMPLEMENTARY APPROACH TO ADDRESSING ZINC DEFICIENCY IN SOUTH AFRICANS. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science. 23 March 2018;68(7):575–584. DOI: 10.1080/09064710.2018.1454507

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