Scientists at the Children's Nutrition Research Center of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) helped develop healthier sorghum varieties containing significant concentrations of provitamin A carotenoids while also increasing mineral absorption to meet the nutritional needs of mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa.
The new varieties are the product of 20 years of collaborations from scientists with the USDA-ARS, the Arkansas Children‚??s Nutrition Center (ACNC), North Carolina State University‚??s (NCSU) Plants for Human Health Institute, and Corteva Agriscience.
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) provides many dietary benefits, as it is high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and some micronutrients. But like many other cereal grains, it lacks sufficient vitamin A precursors and key minerals such as iron and zinc. Worse yet, it contains the natural antinutrient compound phytic acid, which prevents gastrointestinal absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. A significant issue, given that these micronutrients must be obtained from the diet.