WHO: Tot 500.000 kinderen worden ieder jaar blind omwille van vit A deficiëntie, de helft sterft.

This young boy has typical stigmata of severe vitamin A deficiency: Bitot's spot OD; and keratomalacia which led to a staphylomatous, xerotic cornea OS.

Vitamine A deficiëntie is in grote delen van de derde wereld nog steeds een oorzaak van enorm veel leed. Jammergenoeg zijn het dan nog vaak kinderen die hierdoor getroffen worden. Cijfers van het WHO wijzen er nogmaals op dat jaarlijks enorm veel mensen sterven aan een tekort aan deze belangrijke vitamine. 

Zogeheten “silver bullets” in de bestrijding van Vit A deficiëntie zijn er jammergenoeg niet. Het streven zou een voor iedereen toegankelijk en gevarieerd dieet moeten zijn, maar zolang we daar niet zijn is het aangewezen supplementen toe te voegen of aan fortificatie te doen. Het verrijken van stapelvoedsel is een bewezen en nog steeds vaak gebruikte methode om tekorten aan bepaalde nutriënten weg te werken, zelfs in gebieden waar een gevarieerd dieet vanzelfsprekend is. 

In de bestrijding van vitamine A deficiëntie zou gouden rijst een belangrijk hulpmiddel kunnen zijn. Natuurlijk geen heiligmakende oplossing, niet in het minst omdat in vele gebieden waar vitamine A deficiëntie heerst, rijst een beperkte tot geen rol speelt in het dagelijkse dieet. Voor deze gebieden worden ook andere stapelgewassen, zoals bv. cassava verrijkt met vitamine A. Maar waar wel rijst gegeten wordt, kan het een enorm verschil maken. Amper 100-150 gr (gekookte) rijst per dag bevat 60% van de vit A behoefte voor kinderen tussen 6-8 jaar.

Jammergenoeg voeren heel wat NGOs, met Greenpeace op kop, een ideologische hetze tegen gouden rijst die er samen met een absurd ggo-specifiek regularisatieproces voor zorgden dat dit project reeds meer dan tien jaar vertraging opliep. Zelfs met enorm conservatieve schattingen kostte deze vertraging het leven van tienduizenden tot honderdduizenden kinderen. Is deze ideologische strijd tegen 1 welbepaalde veredelingstechniek echt het leven van honderdduizenden kinderen waard?

Veel meer info over het gouden rijst project via goldenrice.org.

Gouden Rijst Werkt!

Background: Golden Rice (GR) has been genetically engineered to be rich in b-carotene for use as a source of vitamin A.
Objective: The objective was to compare the vitamin A value of b-carotene in GR and in spinach with that of pure b-carotene in oil when consumed by children.
Design: Children (n = 68; age 6–8 y) were randomly assigned to consume GR or spinach (both grown in a nutrient solution contain- ing 23 atom% 2H2O) or [2H8]b-carotene in an oil capsule. The GR and spinach b-carotene were enriched with deuterium (2H) with the highest abundance molecular mass (M) at Mb-C+2H10. [13C10]Ret- inyl acetate in an oil capsule was administered as a reference dose. Serum samples collected from subjects were analyzed by using gas chromatography electron-capture negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry for the enrichments of labeled retinol: Mretinol+4 (from [2H8]b-carotene in oil), Mretinol+5 (from GR or spinach [2H10]b- carotene), and Mretinol+10 (from [13C10]retinyl acetate).
Results: Using the response to the dose of [13C10]retinyl acetate (0.5 mg) as a reference, our results (with the use of AUC of molar enrichment at days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after the labeled doses) showed that the conversions of pure b-carotene (0.5 mg), GR b-car- otene (0.6 mg), and spinach b-carotene (1.4 mg) to retinol were 2.0, 2.3, and 7.5 to 1 by weight, respectively.
Conclusions: The b-carotene in GR is as effective as pure b-carotene in oil and better than that in spinach at providing vitamin A to chil- dren. A bowl of w100 to 150 g cooked GR (50 g dry weight) can provide w60% of the Chinese Recommended Nutrient Intake of vitamin A for 6–8-y-old children.

Volledige artikel vind je hier.  

Meer info omtrent gouden rijst vind je op de site van IRRI. 

Transgenic Cry1Ab Rice Does Not Impact Ecological Fitness and Predation of a Generalist Spider

Background

The commercial release of rice genetically engineered to express a Cry1Ab protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) for control of Lepidoptera in China is a subject of debate. One major point of the debate has focused on the ecological safety of Bt rice on nontarget organisms, especially predators and parasitoids that help control populations of insect pests.

Conclusions/Significance

The transgenic Cry1Ab rice lines tested in this study had no adverse effects on the survival, developmental time and fecundity of P. pseudoannulata in the laboratory or on predation under field conditions. This suggests that this important predator would not be harmed if transgenic Cry1Ab rice were commercialized.

Volledige artikel vind je in Plos One.

Organically Grown and Genetically Engineered: The Food of the Future

She’s the head of a plant genetics lab at UC Davis; he teaches organic farming there. They’re married (with kids), and they coauthored Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food.

In the book they wrote: “To meet the appetites of the world’s population without drastically hurting the environment requires a visionary new approach: combining genetic engineering and organic farming. Genetic engineering can be used to develop seeds with enhanced resistance to pests and pathogens; organic farming can manage the overall spectrum of pests more effectively.”

Agriculture has been a revolutionary biological science for 10,000 years, husbanding soil, tweaking the genes of the food crops. This is the next stage.

De video/podcast van het seminarie  georganiseerd door The Long Now foudation vind je op de site zelf, het artikel staat hieronder:  Continue reading

Potential impact and cost-effectiveness of multi-biofortified rice in China

Abstract

Biofortification, that is, improving the micronutrient content of staple foods through crop breeding, could be a pro-poor, pro-rural, agriculture-based intervention to reduce the health burden of micronutrient malnutrition. While the potential cost-effectiveness of crops biofortified with single micronutrients was shown in previous research, poor people often suffer from multiple micronutrient deficiencies, which should be accounted for in biofortification initiatives. This study is the first to estimate the potential health benefits and cost-effectiveness of multi-biofortification. Rice with enhanced provitamin A, zinc, iron and folate concentrations is used as a concrete example. The research is conducted for China, the largest rice producer in the world, where micronutrient malnutrition remains a major public health problem. Using the DALY (disability-adjusted life year) framework, the current annual health burden of the four micronutrient deficiencies in China is estimated at 10.6 million DALYs. Introducing multi-biofortified rice could lower this burden by up to 46%. Given the large positive health impact and low recurrent costs of multi-biofortification, this intervention could be very cost effective: under optimistic assumptions, the cost per DALY saved would be around US$ 2; it would stay below US$ 10 even under pessimistic assumptions. Continue reading

Multi-generation effects of Bt rice on Anagrus nilaparvatae, a parasitoid of the nontarget pest Nilapavarta lugens.

Abstract

Little is known about the potential cumulative long-term effects of transgenic crops on nontarget organisms. In the present laboratory study, the potential cumulative effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) rice on parasitoids in successive generations were observed for an egg parasitoid, Anagrus nilaparvatae parasitizing eggs of Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) feeding on Bt rice. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test confirmed that Cry1Ab insecticidal protein could be detected in newly eclosed parasitoid adults. However, no significant effect on the fecundity of Anagrus nilaparvatae Pang et Wang (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) was observed between Bt and non-Bt rice. Developmental times of both genders of A. nilaparvatae parasitizing host eggs laid in Bt (KMD1 and KMD2) rice lines were significantly prolonged from first generation to second generation, but not always prolonged from third generation to 11th generation as compared with the control rice line. Furthermore, the sex ratio of A. nilaparvatae progeny from the first generation to 11th generation in three rice lines was not significantly different. In general, our results suggested that the effect of Bt rice on this parasitoid could be negligible.
Wetenschappelijk artikel hier.

Nutritional enhancement of rice for human health: The contribution of biotechnology

Abstract

Micronutrient malnutrition is widespread, especially in poor populations across the globe where daily caloric intake is confined mainly to staple cereals. Rice, which is a staple food for over half of the world’s population, is low in bioavailable micronutrients required for the daily diet. Improvements of the plant-based diets are therefore critical and of high economic value in order to achieve a healthy nutrition of a large segment of the human population. Rice grain biofortification has emerged as a strategic priority for alleviation of micronutrient malnutrition. Nutritional enhancement of crops through conventional breeding is often limited by the low genetic variability for required dietary micronutrient levels. In this case, biotechnology strategies offer effective and efficient perspectives. In this review, we discuss genetic engineering approaches that have been successful in the nutritional enhancement of rice endosperm. These advancements will make substantial contributions to crop improvement and human nutrition. Their practical application, however, also demands visionary changes in regulatory policies and a broader consumer acceptance.

Wetenschappelijk artikel hier.