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'Super' banana, enriched with beta carotene, to face first human trial

Published on Jun 16, 2014 10:59 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - A super-enriched banana genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa will soon have its first human trial, which will test its effect on vitamin A levels, Australian researchers said on Monday.

The project plans to have the special banana varieties - enriched with alpha and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A - growing in Uganda by 2020.

The bananas are now being sent to the United States, and it is expected that the six-week trial measuring how well they lift vitamin A levels in humans will begin soon.

"Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food," said project leader Professor James Dale.

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