Biofortification is the process of increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop, through plant breeding or agronomic practices, so that when consumed regularly will generate measurable improvement in vitamin and mineral nutritional status. We are conducting two large randomized controlled trials in the urban slums of Mumbai to assess the efficacy of biofortification as a strategy to improve nutritional status, and immune and cognitive functioning in infants. 

Sudha V - DSCN0829.JPG

Pearl Millet Trial 

The first trial focuses on children 12-18 months of age and a high iron- and zinc-variety of pearl millet. This feeding trial will continue for 9 months and examine the impact of biofortified pearl millet-based complementary food on iron and zinc status, growth, and immune and cognitive function. ID: NCT02233764 

Supported by two competitive research grants from: 

Sudha V - IMG-20150316-WA0006.jpg

Multiple Biofortified Food Crops Trial 

The second trial expands the crop portfolio to include orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, wheat, and lentils, in addition to pearl millet to deliver 50-70% of the estimated average requirements for vitamin A, iron, and zinc to breastfeeding mothers and their 6-12 months old infants. ID: NCT02648893 

Relevant Publications: 

Finkelstein JL, Haas JD, Mehta S. Iron-biofortified staple food crops for improving iron status: a review of the current evidence. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2017 Apr;44:138-145. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Jan 25. Review. PubMed PMID: 28131049. 

De Steur H, Mehta S, Gellynck X, Finkelstein JL. GM biofortified crops: potential effects on targeting the micronutrient intake gap in human populations. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2017 Apr;44:181-188. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2017.02.003. Epub 2017 Mar 11. Review. PubMed PMID: 28288329.

Stover PJ, Mehta S. Editorial overview: Food biotechnology. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2017 Apr;44:v-vi. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2017.03.015. Epub 2017 Mar 24. PubMed PMID: 28347578. 

Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Udipi SA, Ghugre PS, Luna SV, Wenger MJ, Murray-Kolb LE, Przybyszewski EM, Haas JD. A Randomized Trial of Iron-Biofortified Pearl Millet in School Children in India. J Nutr. 2015 Jul;145(7):1576-81. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.208009. Epub 2015 May 6. PubMed PMID: 25948782.