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

 

Real Estate: Housing Prices Head South In Most Of NZ

Housing became more affordable for first home buyers in many parts of the country including Auckland last month, as falling prices more than offset rising mortgage interest rates. More>>

ALSO:

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sci-Tech
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news