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Impact of Foods Nutritionally Enhanced Through Biotechnology in Alleviating Malnutrition in Developing Countries

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Abstract:

According to United Nations (UN) projections, the world's population will grow from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8 billion in 2025 and 9.4 billion in 2050. Most (93) of the increase will take place in developing countries. The rapid population growth in developing countries creates major challenges for governments regarding food and nutrition security. According to current World Health Organization estimates, more than 3 billion people worldwide, especially in developing countries, are malnourished in essential nutrients. Malnutrition imposes severe costs on a country's population due to impaired physical and cognitive abilities and reduced ability to work. Little progress has been made in improving malnutrition over the past few decades. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN would like to see more nutrient-rich foods introduced into these countries, because supplements are expensive and difficult to distribute widely. Biofortification of staple crops through modern biotechnology can potentially help in alleviating malnutrition in developing countries. Several genetically modified crops, including rice, potatoes, oilseeds, and cassava, with elevated levels of essential nutrients (such as vitamin A, iron, zinc, protein and essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids); reduced levels of antinutritional factors (such as cyanogens, phytates, and glycoalkaloid); and increased levels of factors that influence bioavailability and utilization of essential nutrients (such as cysteine residues) are advancing through field trial stage and regulatory processes towards commercialization. The ready availability and consumption of the biofortified crops would have a significant impact in reducing malnutrition and the risk of chronic disease in developing countries.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Government of Canada, 251 Sir Frederick Banting Dwy, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0L2. 2: National Commission on Biotechnology, Government of Pakistan and COMSTECH Secretariat, 3 Constitution Ave, G-5/2, Islamabad-4400, Pakistan.

Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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