Australian scientists have created bananas rich in pro-vitamin A to aid in specifically saving the lives of children who die from vitamin A deficiency every year in Africa.
The golden orange-fleshed bananas were manufactured with the genes of a rare Papa New Guinea banana species, high in provitamin A, and combined that with the high generating Cavendish banana. The purpose of the creation was for the body to convert provitamin A into vitamin A when consumed.
Thanks to the funding of over seven million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, over the last decade, Queensland University Researchers have been able to develop the “biofortified” bananas.
The group of researchers presented a proof of concept in a field trial in Australia, where it was proven that their bananas contained double the amount of provitamin A than expected.
The lead researcher stated that the success of their fruit genetic variation has been inserted into the Ugandan banana field supply to provide a nutritional diet for the area’s malnourished communities. Adding to that, the next stage will be to observe if the results are duplicated, as cooked bananas are a staple food in the rural parts of the country.
Provitamin A-rich bananas are expected to support an estimate of 750,000 children, who die yearly from not meeting a dietary requirement of vitamin A with hundreds of thousands going blind from birth through the age of five around the world.
From 2006 to 2011, Uganda has had a twenty percent soar in introducing Vitamin A into the population. The lead researcher noted how the country’s native bananas have been an excellent source of starch, but has been low in micronutrients. particularly pro-vitamin A and iron.
Results remain to be seen in how science inserting lab experiments, such as these golden-orange bananas, into the African ecosystem for the African population will conclude. Many theorize that this is Africa once again being used as a guinea pig for something more diabolical – possibly an outbreak of disease years down the line.
In case you’re not aware, take note that the everyday bananas we eat are genetically modified for taste and population abundance, as bananas before modification decades ago were filled with seeds and were inedible before science turned it into the fruit we know it as. Many of our plants have been altered for selective breeding-done with non-malicious intent (that we know of), so there is a reason to be optimistic. If this superfood can indeed eliminate hunger and malnutrition in one part of the world, then more power to it.
However, if this is a potential planting – figuratively and literally – of another HIV/AIDS or Ebola epidemic that will infect the African population down the line, then this experiment will be referenced. It will be noted along the lines of “Food experiments that were taking place in the Ugandan food supply around the year 2017.” Let’s hope there isn’t any need for the latter to occur and that this is indeed a genuine effort to help society, as interference in Africa from the outside world, hasn’t necessarily been the most prosperous for the local African populations.