UK researchers boost B12 in pea shoots
Added on 28 September 2023
Biofortification is the process of enhancing the nutritional value of crops through biotechnology, traditional plant breeding or agronomic practices that increase the amount or types of vitamins or nutrients compared to what is normally present.
In a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded project, scientists from the John Innes Centre, LettUs Grow and the Quadram Institute have identified one of the nutrients that hold immense promise for biofortification - Vitamin B12. The project uses LettUs Grow’s ultrasonic aeroponic technology to grow B12 fortified pea shoots which contain the recommended daily dose in a single small portion.
It is a powerful tool that can address malnutrition, particularly for those in developing countries where access to nutrient-rich foods is often limited. Traditionally, B12 has been a nutrient primarily obtained from animal sources. Deficiency can lead to severe and irreversible damage, particularly to the brain and nervous system. As we’re increasingly being encouraged to move towards more plant-rich diets for both human and planetary health, B12 is becoming a nutrient of great interest. Biofortification can unlock new sources of this essential nutrient.