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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY MODULATION OF IMMUNE FUNCTION AND OXIDATIVE STRESS

Location: Immunity and Disease Prevention Research Unit

Title: Citrus can help prevent vitamin A deficiency in developing countries

Authors
item Burri, Betty
item Chang, Jasmine -
item Turner, Tami -

Submitted to: California Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 17, 2010
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Citation: Burri, B.J., Chang, J.S., Turner, T. 2011. Citrus can help prevent vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. California Agriculture. 65(3):130-135.

Interpretive Summary: California is a major producer of tangerines and oranges in the United States. Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are carotenoids found in these fruits which form vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency, which causes blindness, is common in Southern Asia and Africa. We evaluated the potential of tangerines and oranges to prevent vitamin A deficiency by measuring their carotenoid concentrations. We estimated the amount of these citrus fruits needed to meet human vitamin A requirements. Then we determined the availability of oranges and tangerines in countries with vitamin A deficiency. We conclude that tangerines, but not oranges, could be useful in preventing vitamin A deficiency.

Technical Abstract: California is a major producer of tangerines and oranges, which contain carotenoids that form vitamin A. Deficiencies of this vitamin are common in southern Asia and Africa, causing blindness and more than one-half million deaths each year. We evaluated the potential of tangerines and oranges to prevent vitamin A deficiency worldwide by measuring their carotenoid concentrations, estimating the amounts needed to meet the recommended safe nutrient intake for vitamin A and determining their availability in countries with vitamin A deficiency. We conclude that tangerines — particularly Satsuma mandarins, which have high concentrations of the carotenoid betacryptoxanthin — but not oranges, could be useful in preventing vitamin A deficiency, though not as the sole source.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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