) announced a key milestone in introducing pro-vitamin A (beta
carotene) into sorghum, a staple food in Africa, which is
naturally deficient in key nutrients. The stock reacted
positively to the news and the company's shares increased as much
as 1.9% during the trading hours.
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This is part of the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) initiative,
where a group of scientists from the U.S and Africa will enable
the delivery of a nutritionally enhanced sorghum seeds, which can
be grown in target Sub-Saharan Africa, to farmers.
The scientists have made a number of achievements and also
received the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO)
Patent for Humanity award in 2013 for the excellent research.
This initiative will help to strengthen the nutritional profile
of sorghum while improving public health in target African
countries. DuPont has been providing technology, expertise and
offering donations, which is a critical ingredient of success
with ABS initiative.
The scientists' research helped in increasing the level of beta
carotene more than 100-fold in sorghum. The beta carotene levels
normally degrade by one-half after three weeks of grain storage,
but the ABS products display a rate of beta carotene degradation
of over 100% from three weeks to about 10 weeks.
The sorghum protein digestibility reduces after cooking but
further research helped in enhancing absorption potential of
protein while improving protein quality of sorghum. They also
enhanced nutritional characteristics of sorghum with key
nutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A.
These enable the farmers to grow more food which is also rich in
nutrition. Due to Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD), half a million
children become blind in Africa with increased risk of cognitive
impairment, disease and death from severe infections. Also, about
600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes. These can be
reduced by the intake of more vitamin A in their diet.
DuPont currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the chemical industry include
Northern Technologies International Corp.
Akzo Nobel NV
). While Northern Technologies and Methanex carry a Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy), Akzo Nobel retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).