Scientists Develop Pro-vitamin A Rich Bananas

Scientists in Australia have developed the world’s first golden-orange fleshed bananas rich in Vitamin A.

The decade-long research, led by Distinguished Professor James Dale, involved extensive laboratory tests.

The development of the biofortified fruit is part of a “significant humanitarian project” aimed at improving the nutritional content of the banana in Uganda, where the fruit is a major food staple.

The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are severe in Uganda, with an estimated 650,000-700,000 children to die as a result each year and a further several hundred thousand going blind.

The “biofortified” bananas were developed by taking genes from a species of banana from Papua New Guinea, which is high in provitamin A. The elite genes were sent to Uganda in test tubes where they were inserted into Ugandan bananas for field trials there.

The research was backed with support of $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.