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Biofortification Provitamin A Maize in Zambia
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Biofortification Provitamin A Maize in Zambia


Improved nutrition in Zambia – the role of agricultural research

Improved nutrition in Zambia – the role of agricultural research

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  • We are interdisciplinary-plant breeders, nutritionist, economists, marketing professionals, and behavior change specialists
  • This process is called biofortification. HarvestPlus is the conventional breeding of food crops with higher micronutrient content that will have a measurable impact on nutritional status at the public health level.Focus on 3 micronutrients that are most limiting vitamin A, zinc, and iron
  • The HarvestPlus strategy is targeted to poor people who eat large amounts of staple foods daily and who mostly live in rural areas. Includes subsistence farmers or landless who purchase locally. Overall, those who depend heavily on one or two staple foods.
  • Seed (and in this case, sweet potato vines) can be saved and shared with other farmers.(don’t use maize as an example)
  • This is a photo of our head breeder for HarvestPlus, Wolfgang, and our country manager for pearl millet in India, Kedar Rai.This approach offers a one-time research investment to develop biofortified crops, low additional costs to continue improvement once integrated into breeding programs.
  • There are a variety of possible interventions for addressing micronutrient malnutrition: Already discussed dietary diversity Supplementation: distribution of supplements such as vitamin A or iron pills to large portions of the populations either through yearly campaigns or through health centers or health workers Fortification: adding nutrients to already processed foods, such as iodine to salt or iron and B vitamins to flour Another strategy is biofortification—which is what the remainder of my presentation will focus on
  • We focus on seven staple food crops eaten by the word’s poor. Staple food crops eaten by the worlds poorestCrops are disease resistant and perform as well as other crops
  • Here is the scheme of the nutrition research. In the development stages of the biofortified maize, the main question is by much do we need to increase the PVA levels. What is the target level? And to answer this question we need to know how much maize will people eat? How much of PVA is lost during the cooking process and how much stays in the food and how much is absorbed by the body.Then we will do an efficacy trial with to determine the impact of the PVA maize on the Vitamin A status of the study population under controlled conditionsEffectiveness: when the PVA maize is made available to population to study the results on improved levels of vitA and health
  • Reference Child (24-59 months)Younger Sibling (6-23 months)Women of childbearing age (
  • If the production of biofortified maize by rural households is to be promoted, factors that affect their choice of maize seed may be helpful in assessing potential impacts and identifying limitations.  Although Nyimba and Mkushi districts were similar in many characteristics associated with maize production and food security and risk of malnutrition, there are some important, key differences in their maize production practices regarding choice of varieties and seed sources.
  • First Study:2 maize genotypes at the same physiological maturityEars and grain dried under the sunStorage condition:Shelled grain in permeable bagsFlour in air-tight paper bagsEars in open containersStorage temperature: room subtropical and -80CStorage time: 0,4,8,and 12 months


  • 1. Biofortification Provitamin A Maize in Zambia Fabiana De Moura, Ph.D.HarvestPlus c/o IFPRI2033 K Street, NW • Washington, DC 20006-1002 USATel: 202-862-5600 • Fax: 202-467-4439HarvestPlus@cgiar.org • www.HarvestPlus.org
  • 2. An Interdisciplinary Program 200+ scientists, 40+ countriesIFPRIWashington, D.C., U.S.A. CIAT Cali, Colombia Consultative Group on Int’l Ag. Research (CGIAR)
  • 3. Biofortification-breeding food cropsthat are more nutritious Photo: D. Marchand
  • 4. Targeted: poor people eat staples Photo: IRRI
  • 5. Sustainable: farmers can save and share Photo: A.M. Ball
  • 6. Photo: ICRISATCost-effective:central one-time investment
  • 7. Supplementation Commercial FortificationDietaryDiversity Biofortification
  • 8. Biofortified Crops for Asia Pearl Millet Iron (Zinc) 2012 India Rice Zinc 2013 Bangladesh, India Wheat Zinc2013 India, Pakistan
  • 9. Biofortified Crops for Africa Cassava Provitamin A2011 DR Congo, Nigeria Beans Iron DR Congo, Rwanda RELEASED!2012 Sweet Potato Maize Provitamin A Provitamin A Mozambique,2012 Zambia Uganda
  • 10. Nutrition Challenge Nutrition ChallengeDemonstrate the ability of biofortifiedcrops to have an impact on thenutritional and health status of thetarget population
  • 11. Target LevelBy how much we need to increase the provitamin A content in the maizeto improve the vitamin A status for their consumers?
  • 12. Initial Assumptions % of daily micronutrient Approximately 50% requirement to achieve Women Children 4-6 yrs-old Requirement (EAR) (µg/day) 500 275 Intake of Maize (g/day) 400 200 Retention 50% Bioavailability 12:1 Baseline content (µg/g) 0-0.5 Additional content (µg/g) +15INITIAL TARGET LEVEL: 15.0-15.5 µg/g fresh, raw weight 17.0-17.5 µg/g dw
  • 13. Nutrition Research Maize IntakeDevelopment Estimate the Retention Target Level BioavailabilityEvaluation Efficacy Trial Effectiveness
  • 14. Nutrition Survey-2009
  • 15. Vitamin A statusAge/Gender Year Prevalence Notes Information SourceGroupChildren ages 1997 65.7% Serum retinol levels NFNC6-59 months <0.7 umol/LChildren ages 2003 53% Serum retinol levels NFNC6-59 months <0.7 umol/LChildren ages 2009 57% Serum retinol levels HarvestPlus Survey24-59 months <0.7 umol/L Prevalence adjusted Mkushi and for infection using Nyimba districts MRDR test was 48%
  • 16. Usual Intake of Maize Nyimba (gm) Mkushi (gm) p-value n Mean Median n Mean Median (mean +se) (mean +se)Reference child Season 175 154.8 +5.5 145 208 165+5.9 144 ns 1 (May - June) Season 162 183.4 +7.7 171 177 195+6.8 183 ns 2 (Oct - Dec) Total 337 168.5+4.7 153 385 178.9 +4.5 174Younger sibling Season 53 70.1 +7.2 53 58 67.8 +6.9 46 ns 1 (May - June) Season 51 106.3 +15 78 56 106.1 +7.2 108 ns 2 (Oct - Dec) Total 104 87.8+8.6 64.5 114 86.7 +5.3 75.5Mother/female Season 169 260.4 +9.2 260 205 311.3+10.9 282 0.001caret aker 1 (May - June) Season 156 256+8.8 242 173 320.8+9.8 315 0.000 2 (Oct - Dec) Total 325 258.4+6.4 115 378 315.7 +7.4 293
  • 17. Maize Production• Both hybrid and open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) are reported to be grown.• Although the relative amounts of each major type of maize seed has not been calculated, the data suggest that providing both hybrids and OPVs may be necessary to reach the majority of rural households.
  • 18. RetentionCIMMYT study showed 50% exponential decay of provitamin A inmaize grain, cobs, and flour after 4 months of storage: – Genotype, storage time and temperature are the most important determinant of provitamin A retention. Study at Iowa State University showed 75% retention of provitamin A maize when cooked into porridge NISIR Study (2011) 4 genotypes considered for release in 2012 Storage: 6 months (0, 3, 5, and 6 mo)-stored as grains and cobs Milling: samp and maize meal Cooking: roasted, boiled, nshima, porridge and samp
  • 19. Bioavailability (Bioconversion)
  • 20. More Favorable Bioconversion Provitamin A Maize b-carotene to Vitamin A 7:1 Li et al. AJCN 2010Other bioconversion results for biofortified cropsGolden rice 3:1Biofortified Yellow Maize 3:1
  • 21. HarvestPlus assumption for Assumptions for target levels of target levels of provitamin A in provitamin A in maize, updated with maize research results% of dailymicronutrient ~50% ~50%requirement to achieve Non-Age/physiological status pregnant/non- Children 4-6 Non-pregnant/non- Children 4-6 yr ofgroup lactating yr of age lactating women age womenEstimated average 500 275 500 275requirement (µg/day)Intake (g fresh 400 200 250-300 200weight/day) Retention after 4 months storage: 43%Micronutrient retention Retention after wet milling and cooking: 50%after processing 75% Total cumulative retention: 33%Bioavailability 12:1 7 :1Baseline micronutrientcontent (µg/g dry 0 - 0.5 0 – 0.5weight)Additional content + 15 + 15
  • 22. Efficacy Trials in 2012Mkushi: Population-based approach (JHU)Nyimba: Stable Isotope approach (UWM)Zambian Collaborators:NFNC and TDRC
  • 23. Reaching End Users (REU)Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato Project HarvestPlus c/o IFPRI 2033 K Street, NW • Washington, DC 20006-1002 USA Tel: 202-862-5600 • Fax: 202-467-4439 HarvestPlus@cgiar.org • www.HarvestPlus.org Image:www.hki.org
  • 24. Project Description• The HarvestPlus Reaching End Users OrangeFleshed Sweet Potato Project disseminated orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) in Uganda and Mozambiquefrom 2006 to 2009.• First time that a biofortified crop with a visibly differenttrait (color) had been deployed on such a large scale.• Project assessed OFSP adoption rates and whetheradoption resulted in improved vitamin A intakes amongyoung children and their mothers.• 14,000 households in Mozambique and 10,000households in Uganda were reached.
  • 25. Key Findings: AdoptionThe Project successfully promoted OFSP inMozambique and Uganda. It resulted in adoptionof OFSP by:•77 percent of project households in Mozambique(compared to 9 percent in the control group)65 percent of project households in Uganda,(compared to 4 percent in the control group).
  • 26. Key Findings: Vitamin A IntakesThe REU intervention resulted in a significant increase intotal vitamin A intakes among young children, olderchildren, and women in both Mozambique and Uganda.In both countries, the change in vitamin A intakes in theintervention groups was accounted for by the increasedintake of vitamin A from OFSP. Image:www.hki.org