Research has shown that compared to other packaging and storage facilities, polyvinyl plastic containers (PPC) and dark compartment storage have the highest retention of Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) and xanthophylls in yellow-seeded maize.
Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) foods contribute to the reduction of
vitamin A deficiency diseases within the human body. Yellow-seeded maize
flour, being a pVAC-rich food, needs the right packaging materials and
storage conditions that retain pVAC as it is essential for health
Within a lush and humid valley in the state of Nayarit on
Mexico’s Pacific coast, a giant resides. The local maize landrace, named ‘Jala’
after the valley in which it grows, produces the biggest maize ears in the
world. Its plants grow to such a height the only way to harvest the ears is on
horseback. However, despite its vigor and size, the survival of this landrace
is at risk as its genetic diversity fades and young people who might carry on
growing traditions leave the rural land looking for a better life.
A new maize festival, the Feria de la Mazorca del Maiz Nativo, or Native Maize Festival, was launched on December 10, 2018 in the town of Coapan, which adjoins the valley’s namesake town of Jala. The festival aims to improve this remarkable landrace’s future by encouraging farmers to protect its genetic potential and creating a space for young people to have their views heard. The festival is a collaboration between Denise Costich, head of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) maize gene bank, Carolina Camacho of CIMMYT’s socioeconomics program, Victor Vidal of INIFAP-Nayarit and local partners including Gilberto Gonzalez, Ricardo Cambero, Alondra Maldonado, Ismael Elias, Renato Olmedo (CIMMYT), and Miguel Gonzalez Lomelí.
New research evidence could have significant implications for breeding approaches to combat harmful aflatoxin contamination in maize while simultaneously contributing to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. The study ‘Provitamin A Carotenoids in Grain Reduce Aflatoxin Contamination of Maize While Combating Vitamin A Deficiency’ is the first published report to document how biofortification – the process by which staple crops are bred to increase micronutrient content in their edible parts to address hidden hunger – with provitamin A (proVA) can contribute to reduce aflatoxin contamination in maize, thereby addressing two major health concerns.
Aflatoxins are harmful compounds that are produced by the
fungus Aspergillus flavus, which can
be found in the soil, plants and grain of a variety of legumes and cereals
including maize. Toxic to humans and animals, aflatoxins are associated with
liver and other cancers and weakened immune systems that result in increased
burden of disease, micronutrient deficiencies, and stunting or underweight
development in children.
Overall, women account for only 28 percent of the world’s researchers according to data from the UN. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort to inspire and engage women and girls in science. However, a significant gender gap persists at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.
Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of
the internationally agreed development goals and the UN sustainable development