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More Natural Supplements Could Be Produced From Plants

October 18, 2010 by  

More natural supplements could be produced from plantsResearchers have discovered how to create micro-nutrients in crops, such as from the cassava plant. As a result, this could produce more healthy food.

According to the study published in The Plant Cell, scientists from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture at Columbia University and Freiburg University in Germany researched a variation of cassava with white and yellow roots. This was used to help them understand how provitamin A carotenoids are produced.

White cassava roots have relatively low levels of pro-vitamin A, while the yellow rooted version of this plant could contain up to 20 times that amount. The researchers compared the different cassava roots and found the difference was a single amino acid change that contributes to the production of carotenoids.

As a result, the scientists were able to turn the white rooted cassava plants into yellow ones that produced higher provitamin A levels by increasing the amino acid levels in the white cassava.

Peter Beyer, one of the researchers involved with the study, said that the findings will encourage new ways of creating provitamin A in these plants "by the exchange of a single amino acid already present in cassava."

The scientists hope that this method will eventually help individuals who are vitamin A deficient.

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