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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Nov;51 Suppl 4:S34-8.

Agronomic problems related to provitamin A carotenoid-rich plants.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-2901, USA.



Review how agricultural systems might be changed to increase the vitamin A density of diets in developing countries to provide sustainable solutions to vitamin A deficiency globally.


Develop agricultural systems that not only assure calorie adequacy for people, but also address vitamin A density in diets.


Agricultural systems could be modified in some developing nations in ways that would provide adequate dietary amounts of provitamin A carotenoids from plant food sources.


Infants and children of low-income families are most at risk of developing vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.


Cropping systems could be modified to include more vegetable and fruit crops containing higher bioavailable amounts of provitamin A carotenoids in some countries. Additionally, cultural practices could be modified through education, agricultural extension and/or social marketing to insure that the bioavailable provitamin A carotenoid levels in food crops are optimized. Staple food crops could be improved as sources of provitamin A carotenoids by traditional plant breeding and/or by genetic engineering efforts.


Currently, many techniques are available to increase the vitamin A content of diets through sustainable food-based approaches. Agricultural approaches should be examined closely to finding sustainable food-based system solutions to vitamin A deficiency globally.


The world community should strive to find food-based system approaches to eliminating vitamin A deficiency. Modifying agricultural systems in ways that will not only maximizing food production, but also insure nutritional adequacy of vitamin A is a desirable goal for many developing countries.

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