Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a preventable tragedy that affects millions of people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. A large proportion of these people rely on diets based on cassava as a source of calories. During the last two decades, significant efforts have been made to identify sources of germplasm with high pro-vitamin A carotenoids (pVAC) and then use them to develop cultivars with a nutritional goal of 15 μg g−1 of β-carotene (fresh weight basis) and good agronomic performance. The protocols for sampling roots and quantifying carotenoids have been improved. Recently, NIR predictions began to be used. Retention of carotenoids after different root processing methods has been measured. Bioavailability studies suggest high conversion rates. Genetic modification has also been achieved with mixed results. Carotenogenesis genes have been characterized and their activity in roots measured.
Part of the book: Carotenoids