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DuPont Reports Sorghum to Be More Nutritious

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DuPont (DD) announced a key milestone in introducing pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) into sorghum, a staple food in Africa, which is naturally deficient in key nutrients. The stock reacted positively to the news and the company’s shares increased as much as 1.9% during the trading hours.

This is part of the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (:ABS) initiative, where a group of scientists from the U.S and Africa will enable the delivery of a nutritionally enhanced sorghum seeds, which can be grown in target Sub-Saharan Africa, to farmers.

The scientists have made a number of achievements and also received the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (:USPTO) Patent for Humanity award in 2013 for the excellent research. This initiative will help to strengthen the nutritional profile of sorghum while improving public health in target African countries. DuPont has been providing technology, expertise and offering donations, which is a critical ingredient of success with ABS initiative.

The scientists’ research helped in increasing the level of beta carotene more than 100-fold in sorghum. The beta carotene levels normally degrade by one-half after three weeks of grain storage, but the ABS products display a rate of beta carotene degradation of over 100% from three weeks to about 10 weeks.

The sorghum protein digestibility reduces after cooking but further research helped in enhancing absorption potential of protein while improving protein quality of sorghum. They also enhanced nutritional characteristics of sorghum with key nutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A.
These enable the farmers to grow more food which is also rich in nutrition. Due to Vitamin A Deficiency (:VAD), half a million children become blind in Africa with increased risk of cognitive impairment, disease and death from severe infections. Also, about 600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes. These can be reduced by the intake of more vitamin A in their diet.

DuPont currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the chemical industry include Northern Technologies International Corp. (NTIC), Methanex Corp. (MEOH) and Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY). While Northern Technologies and Methanex carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Akzo Nobel retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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