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Banana boost

Stored under Caption This!GamesMiscellaneousNewsRecipesRelated EBay AuctionsReviewsVideosVisual Stimulation on October 19, 2006

QUEENSLAND researchers are enriching bananas to alleviate malnutrition in Uganda.

The state's Chief Scientist Professor Peter Andrews outlined the project as an example for others to follow in a major address to CSIRO scientists last week.

He told the scientists that long-term, Queensland should move to help solve its drought problems and alleviate world hunger by focusing on genetically modified food.

"In Uganda, 38 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted by malnutrition," he said.

"Their staple food is bananas, of which Ugandans eat an average of 1kg a day, but which lack sufficient vitamin A, vitamin E and iron for their needs.

"The solution? Professor James Dale at the Queensland University of Technology is working with the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to genetically enrich Ugandan bananas with these three nutrients."

Professor Andrews said Queensland could help the developing world by building its biotechnology, putting different genes into existing crops to make them more nutritious or less dependent on heavy watering.

While this would take time, cotton and sugar crops which needed less water would be a major advantage to the state, he said.

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