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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Just, Brian
item Simon, Philipp

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2003
Publication Date: 2/18/2004
Citation: Just, B., Simon, P.W. 2004. Nutritional quality. Book Chapter.

Interpretive Summary: Crop plants are important source of dietary nutrients. As plant breeders developed improved crops they have paid some attention to improving nutritional value. This book chapter reviews progress in this effort. The information summarized is important for plant researchers and growers to understand progress made and future directions for this avenue of work.

Technical Abstract: Breeding plants for improved nutritional quality is an old idea. One can imagine early gatherers and farmers avoiding eating certain plants that made them ill. In more modern times, selection for sugar content of sugarbeet has been ongoing for over 250 years, while selection for oil and protein content in maize and soybean is approaching 100 years. As research in the nutritional sciences continues to demonstrate the importance of plant-derived nutrients in foods to our health and well-being, more breeding is underway to increase the type and amount of nutrients in cereals, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. The human diet consists of a diverse array of crops. Because specific nutrient levels in many of these crops are often under genetic control, the prospects for improving the nutritional quality of food through plant breeding are promising.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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