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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Iron Biofortification of Lentils: Defining Current Production of High FE Lentils and Development of Enhanced Nutritional Quality, BRE1119

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-52000-001-02-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2011
End Date: Mar 31, 2016

This project seeks to produce lentils that are biofortified with iron (Fe). To do so, this project contains two major components; 1) a “fast track” approach of identifying current harvests and possible cultivars of high Fe lentils already in use by growers; and 2) to begin a longer term strategy to understand the high Fe concentration and bioavailability traits in lentils and create new varieties with enhanced Fe nutritional quality.

To accomplish the first objective, we will partner with Simpson Seeds (Moose Jaw, SK) to sample and track incoming shipments of lentils through the processing facility. Samples of the incoming shipments will be analyzed for Fe concentration (via inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy) and Fe bioavailability using a bioassay that combines simulated gastric and intestinal digestion with Fe uptake by human intestinal epithelial cells (Glahn et al., J. Nutr. 1998, 128:1555-1561; Yun et al., J. Nutr. 2004, 134:2717 – 2721). From these studies we expect to document the range of Fe concentration and bioavailability in samples of particular varieties during a given harvest period and to correlate that information with soil type, location and weather. Samples that are identified as promising via the bioassay will be confirmed with an animal study (ie. a poultry model; Tako et al., Poultry Sci. 2010, 89:514-521) to confirm the bioassay results and demonstrate proof of concept. For the second objective, we will utilize the above-mentioned techniques as screening tools to search through mapping populations of lentils and identify the molecular markers associated with Fe bioavailability and concentration. This approach has recently been shown to be feasible in maize (Lung’aho et al., submitted; Hoekenga et al., 2011 Plant Gen Res in press) and should result in a breeding approach that allows sustainable enhancement of Fe nutritional quality.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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