Health and nutrition

“Health and nutrition” deals with all aspects related to nutrition security and human health, biomass use for food and feed, and animal health.

Nutrition security is an important aspect of food security because a disproportionate focus on calories may cloud the fact that many people in Africa, especially children and lactating mothers, suffer from an inadequate supply of vitamins and micronutrients. Inadequate nutrition can lead to stunting or obesity, along with many other severe health problems. Hence, further research and outreach is required to ensure access to balanced diets for both rural and urban population in Africa. This needs to take into account the particular dietary requirements and preferences of different consumer groups. Innovative uses and preparation of African crops can contribute to nutrition security.

This thematic area features contributions related to the:

  • Aspects of food safety and food quality, including food storage and preparation, food losses and nutritional aspects of food
  • Food diversity, including the diversity of diets and food production systems, access to quality food
  • Cultural issues related to food consumption, including adequacy, knowledge, preference and gender aspects
  • Relations between health and nutrition

Theme coordinator: Tina Beuchelt

Julian Philipp Wald, Donatus Nohr, Hans Konrad Biesalski. 2018. Rapid and easy carotenoid quantification in Ghanaian starchy staples using RP-HPLC-PDA. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (67): 119-127 pp.

This study comprises the development of a robust, rapid and cost-effective reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic method with low solvent consumption (micro-approach) to quantify carotenoids in starchy staples, exemplified for cassava, maize and plantain matrices. For extraction, a mixture of 1 M potassium hydroxide in methanol and hexane (1:1) was used, enabling the simultaneous extraction and saponification of the sample extracts. Carotenoids were separated within 12 min on a C30 column using mixtures of methanol, methyl tert-butyl ether and water as mobile phases. Due to the implemented saponification process, the technique showed the potential to be applied for carotenoid analysis in other sample matrices exemplarily demonstrated for green leafy vegetables. Because of the low application and equipment costs, the analytical procedure qualifies for its application in quality management with limited budget. Concentrations of five major dietary carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene and β-carotene) in cassava, cocoyam, yam, maize and plantain samples from the Ashanti region of Ghana were determined. Based on the restricted data on carotenoid contents of food available in West Africa, the results provide valuable additional information that can be used to expand local food composition tables and support the assessment of dietary carotenoid intake.

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Posted by : Julian Philipp Wald