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Golden rice: vitamin A for humans

Golden Rice was developed in the early 1990s with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation with the goal of creating rice that had beta-carotene -- a vitamin A precursor – in the rice grain. In its current form, Golden Rice contains 35 micrograms of beta-carotene per gram.

"We found that four units of beta-carotene from Golden Rice convert to one unit of vitamin A in humans," said Dr. Michael Grusak, associate professor of pediatrics at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at BCM and Texas Children's Hospital.

They determined this by feeding five healthy adults a specific amount of specially-labeled Golden Rice and measured the amount of retinol, a form of vitamin A, in the blood.

Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in many parts of the world where poorer community members rely on rice as their major food source. People who lack adequate amounts of this vitamin can have vision problems or even blindness as a result.

by S. C.
19 may 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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