Securing the global food supply is a central aim of the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the funding initiative “Securing the Global Food Supply” (GlobE) to support the global development of sustainable, high-output agriculture. [link : http://www.bmbf.de/en/16742.php] Thus, the main funding body is the BMBF in close collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In the “HORTicultural INnovations and LEArning for improved nutrition and livelihood in east africa” (HORTINLEA)-project, 18 universities and research institutes in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Germany collaborate. In Kenya as well as in some neighboring countries, half of the population is unable to meet their daily nutritional requirements, while the majority of Kenyans depend on farming. Horticultural crops and particularly indigenous vegetables provide essential nutrients lacking in the diet of millions and therefore are in the focus of the HORTINLEA project. The project consists of 14 Subprojects (SP) in different areas of research whereof IGZ is heading SP5 “Analyzing the Impact on Human Health” – information on the other project sections and many more facts can be found at www.hortinlea.org
In order to reach the overall aim to improve the current nutritional status of the population of rural and peri-urban regions of Kenya, promoting a more balanced diet by increasing the consumption of fresh and optimally processed African Leafy Vegetables (ALV) in advisable. Thus, the focus of SP5 is dedicated to analytical and pharmacological characterization of different ALV. As such, identification and quantification of relevant health-related nutrients will be carried out in fresh ALV as well as after typical cooking and processing conditions. This could act as a prerequisite for recommendations of an improved human nutrition. This evaluation data of optimized conditions will be combined with in vitro studies and intervention trials in order to investigate bioavailability in humans.
Major tasks of the IGZ are the cultivation of several core plants of the project (e.g. Kale, Amaranth, African Nightshade and Spiderplant) under different growth conditions as well as the analysis and isolation of the main secondary metabolites (i.e. Flavonoids, Glucosinolates and Carotenoids) of the leaves. Similar work packages are contributed by the IGZ as member institute of SP4 “Assuring Postharvest Quality” analyzing processed African leafy vegetables.