Sorghum and Barley Get Married – How Adding a Barley Gene to Sorghum Is Helping Alleviate Vitamin Deficiencies

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In Iowa, biofortification in sorghum is helping increase the body’s absorption of beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A. This is especially helpful for Sub-Saharan Africa where Vitamin A deficiency is a huge health issue and sorghum is a main part of their diet. DuPont Pioneer and Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International researchers found that oxidation was causing the beta-carotene in sorghum grains to quickly breakdown. So the longer the sorghum was stored, the more vitamin loss occurred. A gene from barley was added to the sorghum grain which helped slow degradation and increase Vitamin E which helps more than double the half-life of beta-carotene in the sorghum grain. Ping Che, DuPont Pioneer research scientist told PR Web, “For children up to age three who rely on sorghum as a staple, we should be able to provide 100 percent of vitamin A Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for up to a month after harvest, via beta-carotene.”