Crop Biotech Update

BC Plus Receives Grant to Fight Malnutrition in the Developing World

April 15, 2011

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received an $8.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will be used to support Phase II of BioCassava Plus (BC Plus). BC Plus is a project developed for the reduction of malnutrition through the improvement of the nutritional value of cassava, a staple crop consumed by over 250 million sub-Saharan African and nearly 700 million people worldwide.

"Beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, and iron are contained in various foods today, but those foods are scarce, unavailable, or too expensive for many people in Nigeria and Kenya," said Dr. Mantin Fregene, project director of BC Plus. "Increasing nutrients in local cassava varieties will make it both accessible and affordable for communities to improve their own nutrition."

The team of researchers who will be continuing the project includes experts from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, National Root Crops Research Institute, and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.

For more information, visit http://www.danforthcenter.org/science/programs/international_programs/bcp/.