Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fertilizers could help tackle nutritional deficiency in African country

Seed Daily via SPX: Enriching crops by adding a naturally-occurring soil mineral to fertilisers could potentially help to reduce disease and premature death in the African country of Malawi, researchers have said.

An international study led by academics at The University of Nottingham has shown that dietary deficiency of the mineral selenium - which plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy and fighting illness - is likely to be endemic among the Malawi population.

They found that most Malawi soils cannot supply enough selenium for adequate human nutrition and, in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, they call for further investigation into the benefits and costs of using selenium-enriched fertilisers and other strategies to boost levels within the country's food.

Leading the study was Dr Martin Broadley, of the University's School of Biosciences, he said: "Selenium is a naturally occurring mineral of fundamental importance to human health, with critical roles in immunity. People with low dietary selenium intakes are at increased risk of suffering from a variety of diseases…

Electron shell diagram for selenium by Pumbaa, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license

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