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News 284 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Researchers develop vitamin A enriched maize

Maize varieties with increased pro-vitamin A content could be growing in Brazil by next year.

Researchers at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) are developing maize varieties with increased levels of beta-carotene. So far they have bred maize that contains 9.2 micrograms beta-carotene per gram kernel. That's four times the beta-carotene content of traditional yellow maize varieties.

The EMBRAPA researchers are being supported by Harvestplus, a research initiative implemented by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) that focuses on using the tools of plant breeding to biofortify staple food crops.

The agronomic performance of the vitamin A-fortified maize cultivar will be evaluated this planting season. If everything goes well, the new maize variety will be available to farmers by 2010. EMBRAPA is also doing biofortification research on cassava, beans, sweet potato, cowpeas, and wheat.

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