There’s a new banana coming to town, and it’s more than just a yummy snack for your little monkeys. The so-called “super-bananas” were created to be high in pro-vitamin A and made with the goal of saving hundreds of thousands of children who die from vitamin A deficiency every year, particularly in East Africa.
The “biofortified” bananas were created by mixing the genes of a New Guinea banana with the traditional Cavendish banana we’re all used to packing in our kids’ lunches. The former has a high vitamin A content but the trees only produce small bunches; the latter has a lower vitamin content but a high yield.
The new-and-improved banana has double the vitamin A content of traditional bananas, so much so that the flesh of it is actually orange in color as opposed to the creamy hue we’re accustomed to seeing.
photo: Wiley Online Library
The research was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Newsweek magazine. Up to 750,000 children die from vitamin A deficiencies every year, the report said, with hundreds of thousands more going blind from the deficiency.
“Achieving these scientific results along with their publication, is a major milestone in our quest to deliver a more nutritional diet to some of the poorest subsistence communities in Africa,” Professor James Dale said in the article. “Our science works.”
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