Talking Biotech: Podcast with Kevin Folta

A science based assessment of new technlogy and the future of food. 100% funded by Kevin Folta.

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Talking Biotech: India’s cotton whitefly attack; Vitamin-enhanced cassava

& | October 19, 2015

Cassava (Manihot esculentum) is a critical world food crop, the third most consumed staple outside of rice and maize. It is even more critical because it is a vigorous plant that grows well in challenging areas. The crop feeds close to 800,000 people worldwide, mostly in Africa, South America and Asia. Production is challenged by a number of biotic and abiotic factors. Viral diseases move quickly through growing regions, vectored by whiteflies. The starchy tuber also lacks key nutrients.

21-COVER

This Talking Biotech episode features Prof. Hervé Vanderschuren from the University of Leige. He is part of a team that has engineered key enzymes into cassava to enable the production of Vitamin B6, a key nutrient.

The second part speaks to Dr. Laura Boykin, a scientist using bioinformatics tools to characterize the whitefly pest that spreads the devastating viral diseases. She also speaks passionately about the people of eastern Africa, and presents a palpable mission to bring them the technical tools and computational know-how to address their continent’s pressing food problems.

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