Agricultural Research

The search for functional foods

Embrapa Laboratory: fortified nutritional quality

TOMAS MAYEmbrapa Laboratory: fortified nutritional qualityTOMAS MAY

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) announced that it would open a new center, with headquarters in Maceió, the capital of the state of Alagoas, for research into functional foods, aromas and flavors.  The center’s purpose, according to Embrapa, is to offer producers a variety of nutrient-fortified products that can satisfy the new demands of the market.  “Embrapa already offers a variety of vitamin and mineral enriched products—like yams, cassava, beans, corn, and cowpeas—that benefit approximately 2,500 families in Brazil’s Northeast, Southeast and Southern regions; and they are working to improve wheat, squash, and rice varieties,” says company president Maurício Lopes.  “No great producing and exporting country can ignore the strong movement in favor of integrating the concepts of food, nutrition and health,” adds Lopes as he describes Embrapa’s successes with other initiatives, such as lettuce produced with large quantities of vitamin B9, which is vital to the nutrition of pregnant women. Research into functional foods is taking place throughout the country at a number of Embrapa’s 46 centers.  The plan is to oversee the projects and float new ideas from the Maceió headquarters.