Biotech Updates

Vitamin A-rich Biotech Bananas to Undergo Human Trials

June 18, 2014

Biotech bananas, fortified with nutrients, will go through the first human trial in the U.S. to test their ability to fight vitamin A deficiency. The bananas have orange flesh, because of the increased beta-carotene, which will be converted into vitamin A in the body. The biofortified banana was developed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to address the vitamin A deficiency epidemic that kills hundreds of thousands of children annually or causes them to go blind.

The trials will last for 6 weeks with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Results will be available at the end of 2014, and commercialization is expected to start by 2020 in Uganda. The technology is also intended to be transferred to other African countries including Rwanda, Congo, Kenya, and Tanzania.

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