Michigan State University recieved a $25 million grant, thanks in part to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program is called Harvest Plus, and funds research to develop vegetables enriched with nutrients.
MSU beat out other top universities from across the country. And researchers at State will lead an international team. Plant biologist Dean DellaPenna is working with plants in the lab to breed plants with a higher content of zinc, iron and pro-vitamin A. He says many plants such as rice contain these vitamins, but his research would produce plants with a higher content of nutrients.
Harvest Plus estimates three billion people worldwide have micronutrient deficencies. New, vitamin bioenriched food would allow people in develpoing countries to grow food which would meet their nutritional needs.
The grant will fund research at the University for at least the next five years. DellaPenna says some crops could be grown in as few as three to seven years.