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Bioavailability and Geographic Distribution of Nutritionally Important Elements in Crops and Soils

Norvell, Wendell
Cornell University
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  1. To improve the nutritional value of staple food crops (wheat, rice, maize, beans, cassava) by increasing the content & bioavailability of iron, zinc, selenium, & vitamin A through sustainable changes to crops, crop production & food processing systems.
  2. To reduce the concentrations of cadmium in durum wheat & other crops by understanding & mapping the distribution of cadmium in wheat-growing soils, by developing agronomic methods to reduce cadmium uptake, & by understanding & controlling the mechanisms of cadmium uptake.
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  • Rice, wheat, maize, beans & cassava (IRRI, CIAT and CIMMYT) with elevated concentrations of micronutrients will be screened for bioavailable iron, zinc, selenium and provitamin A carotenoids using a rat model, human Caco-2 cell model & human feeding trials in cooperation with human nutritionists.
  • Inhibitors or promoters of bioavailability will be measured. Effects of soil and production practices on micronutrients in plant foods will be studied.
  • The spatial distribution of cadmium and other trace elements in soils of the durum wheat-growing region of the USA will be mapped using geostatistical methods & geographic Information systems.
  • Chemical reactions controlling the solubility of cadmium and other trace elements in North Dakota soils will be studied including the role of chloride.
  • Physiological studies of uptake of zinc and cadmium will be conducted in the laboratory and under controlled cultural conditions.
  • Radioactive tracers will quantify accumulation amd translocation of metals in edible plant parts.
  • The role of phytochelatins and phytometallophores in metal uptake will be studied.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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Heavy Metals
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Chemical Contaminants