Vitamin-Rich 'Super Banana' Goes On Trial - Would You Eat It?

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Step aside traditional banana, there's a new and improved fruit on the block - the 'super banana'.

Packed full of alpha and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, the new-age fruit is genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions living in Africa.

The banana is to undergo its first human trial in the US, which lasts six weeks, in order to test the effect of the vitamin A, project researchers have said.

banana

"Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food," said project leader Professor James Dale in a statement.

The banana flesh looks the same on the outside, but the added carotene has caused the fruit to turn orange.

Explaining the motivations behind the project, Dale said that banana is a staple food in East Africa - but it has low-levels of nutrients such as vitamin A and iron.

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"The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dire with 650,000-700,000 children world-wide dying ... each year and at least another 300,000 going blind," he said.

The project, which is headed up by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hopes to see results by the end of the year.

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