Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Research to investigate possibility of cadmium-free potatoes

UC research seeking to investigate possibility of cadmium-free potatoes

October 15, 2013

Cadmium-free potatoes, with the help of the research team at the University of Canterbury (UC), may one day help to allay another possible food safety scare.

Worldwide, potatoes are the fourth most cultivated crop after wheat, rice and maize. In New Zealand, just over half a million tonnes are produced annually and the value of the potato industry has been estimated to be worth around $500 million.

UC biotechnology lecturer Dr David Leung is heading research at UC into the health risk of cadmium in potatoes.

His PhD student, Seyedardalan Ashrafzadeh, says cadmium is a toxicant present in the environment. It has been classified as a probable cause of cancer and could have other long-term health hazards, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

``In the human body, there is no effective means to eliminate cadmium, which is therefore an accumulative toxicant and could bio-accumulate in the liver and kidney for years.

``Some experts have warned that slow cadmium poisoning of the population is a global public health and food safety concern.

``Phosphate fertilisers used to boost crop productivity often contain cadmium and are the main source of cadmium in agricultural soils. Other anthropogenic activities that have contributed to cadmium in the environment include sewage sludges and nickel-cadmium batteries.

``Unlike many environmental toxicants, cadmium belongs to a group of inorganic toxicants commonly called heavy metals that cannot be simply broken up by micro-organisms with time.  Instead, it will persist and its levels could keep rising in soils.

``Cadmium can enter the food chain. It is not rocket science to find that a major route for dietary intake of the toxicant arises from the uptake of the toxicant from agricultural soils by food plants, including potatoes.

``The idea of producing potatoes with limited potential to uptake and accumulate cadmium from soils is being investigated and my initial results will be reported at the annual Biologicial Sciences Postgraduate Students’ Conference of at UC on Thursday (October 17).

``A two-prong investigation of the idea has been undertaken. The natural variation of some locally grown potatoes is being examined.

``In addition, the potential of a plant biotechnology based on plant tissue culture is being investigated to assist the identification and generation of potentially new low cadmium accumulating variant plants during culturing of potato cells in the laboratory.

``Initial results showed that some cultured potato cells might well be taking up less cadmium than others. More work is planned following this lead and to raise plants from the target cultured cells,’’ Ashrafzedah says.


Ardi and Dr David Leung

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news